Community Building Workshops prepare former offenders for reentry programming at Chattanooga Endeavors #SecondChances Click To Tweet

Community Building is a group intervention that was developed by internationally-acclaimed psychiatrist and best-selling author, M. Scott Peck, MD. The method, which Dr. Peck describes in his books The Different Drum and A World Waiting to Be Born, has been used around the world to improve group performance by teaching people how to relate more authentically one to another. Through its concentrated and intensely personal three-day format, participants discover how to transcend the diversity of their backgrounds, enter into difficult dialogue gracefully, and discover the hidden order and unique ecology at work in their shared experience.

While many people report personal benefits from attending a Community Building Workshop, the method is not to be understood as group therapy. It is essentially a “group’s group” — creating the properties needed for effective collaboration so that whatever its members decide to do together is more productive and personally rewarding.

Training Enhancement

When properly integrated into training programs, Community Building improves the learning experience of their participants. In fact, research demonstrates that groups that are exposed to Community Building achieve significantly better training outcomes. This is because it prepares them to learn. For example, it creates a deep and abiding trust among participants, increases the hope they feel for the future, and establishes a sense of belonging to something positive outside themselves.

These properties can be tricky for helping professionals to achieve in their training programs. However, they surface in a very short period of time in Community Building Workshops. What’s more, they last for as long as the group remains together — serving as an adhesive force that promotes rapid teaming with high levels of productivity.

Robert E. Roberts, PhD (Sep 5, 1943 – Oct 14, 2013)

We instituted Community Building at Chattanooga Endeavors in 1996 with Robert E. Roberts, PhD. Bob’s pioneering work at Project Return NOLA demonstrated the unique value of providing helping services in the context of Community Building.

Bob introduced many groups to Community Building. However, only a few were able to implement it. And Chattanooga Endeavors alone was able to sustain it.

Although Project Return no longer exists, Bob’s legacy lives on in the thousands of men and women who he helped to transition from prison to free society and in the work that Chattanooga Endeavors continues to do creating second chances for former offenders and their loved ones.

For more about Bob and his work at Project Return, check out his book, My Soul Said To Me, or the Chance Films documentary, Road To Return.