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How Does CBM Work?

CBM is working in partnership with the Community Building Institute (CBI) to train a network of Milwaukee based facilitators so that Community Building Workshops are available for clients, community leaders, employees, and anyone else from the community that would like to participate. Community Building Workshops last 2-3 days, and typically involve 10-35 participants and two facilitators.  The highly experiential workshop creates an experience of unusual safety, allowing participants to address unproductive attitudes and behaviors, and heal unresolved trauma and grief that may be driving current dysfunctional circumstances.

The events of 2020 have moved CBM into the online platform.  To address concerns of social isolation, compassion fatigue, as well as anxiety and stress, CBM and CBI developed Online Circles of Connection.  These events utilize the same Community Building Principles and Concepts as our 2-3 Day Workshops.  These typically last 75 minutes and are highly experiential.  In addition, CBM and CBI continue to develop trainings that are made available online.


Community Building dramatically improves outcomes in a broad range of existing social service and criminal justice programs. It does this in two key ways.

First, Community Building directly impacts criminogenic and other key success factors such as: antisocial attitudes, negative peer associations and interactions, lack of empathy, minimal problem-solving capability, and difficulty with self-control.

The process instills prosocial skills that promote independence and self-sufficiency such as: anger management, empathy/compassion, communication, listening, collaboration, impulse control, and other unproductive attitudes and behaviors that are difficult for traditional curriculum-based programs to address.

Second, Community Building creates highly effective learning environments.  After a Community Building experience, groups are less resistant, more cooperative and “teachable”, more willing to solve problems, and more engaged in activities. This increased cooperation, or “value congruence,” between individual members and the group results in a highly effective learning environment.

The participants’ increased willingness and positive engagement translates into improved outcomes, especially in more traditional curriculum-based programs (literacy, parenting, job interviewing, vocational and technical skill development, conflict resolution, etc.). Consequently, Community Building can play an important role in related outcomes such as increasing family stability, achieving educational goals and finding meaningful employment.

Research has shown dramatic improvements in reducing recidivism and improving outcomes in traditional curricula-based programs that utilized Community Building.


Read this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Healing Trauma in Milwaukee.  It is written by James “Dimitri” Topitzes, a WCS Board Member, associate professor of social work at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and co-founder and clinical director at the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being.

Workshop Values and Focus
Project Leaders
Community Building Institute


If you or your organization are interested in participating, please contact Ken Ryback at
414-234-6246 or by EMAIL.