Community Building Art Works (CBAW) is a Veterans service organization that builds healthy and connected communities through free online art and writing workshops led by professional artists. Veterans and civilians share creative expression, mutual understanding, and support with the mission to ensure that no Veteran bears the burden of service alone. In partnership with Blue Star Families, CBAW offers writing workshops two Thursdays a month.
Writing workshops forge connection and community
Military spouses founded Blue Star Families (BSF) in 2009 to empower military and Veteran families to thrive by connecting them with their civilian neighbors—both people and organizations—to create strong communities of mutual support.
Joan Green, a long-standing BSF member, shares how connection builds resilience through writing, art and relationships.
“CBAW is so much more than a non-profit that provides writing and art workshops,” Green said. “The facilitators and participants have formed a strong bond that feels, to me, much more like family and life-long friends than merely people on Zoom. I try to schedule my week so I am free to attend every workshop. I am discovering my voice and learning art skills that have given me a productive outlet for processing a lot of unwelcome information and emotional upheaval. I am healing, and hopefully helping others heal. I cannot imagine my life without this chorus ringing in my head every day.”
Writing and resilience
The twice monthly online workshop for military families and caregivers blends poetry, community and the science of resilience. Laura Van Prooyen, author, educator, publisher and workshop facilitator, selects a poem for each session. Together, participants read, respond, write and can choose to share.
Many studies and decades of research have revealed the link between expressive writing and improved health. Writing provides a private space for people to reinforce positive experiences, display gratitude, and explore and articulate painful truths.
No experience necessary
Over the past decade, CBAW’s workshops have reached thousands of service members, Veterans, and military and civilian health care workers struggling with the social isolation and loss of connection that often accompanies moral injury and posttraumatic stress. CBAW creates virtual spaces that allow for health care workers to slow the mind, reflect on difficult circumstances and use ordinary language in extraordinary ways.
The free online workshop for military families, Veterans and caregivers meets on select Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. ET, via Zoom.
Visit CBAW’s website and the full schedule of events.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Veterans should verify the information with the organization offering.