We're sharing a new, short, animated video overview of the Five Domains of Wellbeing and other news about FFI's work around the country.


Message from CEO Katya Smyth

In This Issue:

  • Spotlight on Partners: Missouri
  • Making the Case and Spreading the Word
  • FFI News
  • What's Made Us Think
  • Thank You
Join Others Supporting FFI's Work!

Fall 2013

Dear Allies and Friends,

If a picture can be worth 1,000 words, how many words is a 2½ minute video worth?

When the topic is the Five Domains of Wellbeing, our hope is millions.  

Help people make change that lasts

We are thrilled to announce FFI’s newest resource, an animated overview of the Five Domains of Wellbeing, produced through our partnership with Missouri DYS and available to everyone.

It covers key concepts in accessible and memorable ways. For example, the idea that attention should be paid to trade-offs among the domains becomes clearer much faster through pictures.

Take 2 ½ minutes to watch the video and then share it widely!


-Katya and the FFI team

Spotlight on Partners and Projects


Our collaboration with the state’s Division of Youth Services to strengthen treatment and transition planning for youth leaving the juvenile justice system has achieved a key milestone, with treatment plans now framed around youths’ and families’ assets and challenges in the Five Domains of Wellbeing. Missouri DYS is an incredible partner and example because they have, for several decades, filled the frame of their attention with a young person’s whole life-- family, trauma history, education and more.

For the past three years, DYS has been particularly focused on strengthening youth transitions back to community after their residential treatment--so that progress made is not only lasting, but transformative. The goal is wellbeing, not simply non-recidivism. New tools developed through our partnership include significantly enhanced treatment planning and processes that truly reflect DYS’s long standing commitment to focusing on strengths as well as challenges. DYS may be the only public system in the country where families are asked not only what they need, but also what their hopes and dreams are for their children and for themselves.

Because sustaining change can be hard for systems, too, FFI has been helping DYS provide coaching and on the ground support to ensure the practices really “get into the water” throughout the agency. FFI is also conducting a series of family focus groups to gain insights for DYS about how to better support and engage the families.

Designing assessment and treatment planning around the Five Domains of Wellbeing is a powerful process that’s surfacing strengths and opportunities for engaging youth that we-- DYS and FFI-- are tremendously excited about and more than willing to share with other systems.  To learn more about this project and FFI/DYS resource materials on the Five Domains of Wellbeing in the context of adolescence, please contact Katya Smyth, FFI or Phyllis Becker, DYS.

Making the Case and Spreading the Word

We get around!

Social change isn’t quiet, and it never happens because of one person or one organization. We’ve been hopscotching across the country, working with partners to make the case for the Five Domains of Wellbeing and equipping people to see people and communities in the Full Frame of their lives.  A few examples from the fall...

Any of us who have tried to stick with change know how easy it is to fall back into old patterns and habits. Kids in the juvenile justice system aren’t any different. In October, Katya Smyth and Jennifer Booher (Missouri Division of Youth Services) led an intensive training, “Change is Hard. Sustaining Change is Harder,” at the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association (MJJA) Fall Educational Conference. Over three days, the workshop built off the reality that all change comes at a cost, and that maintaining change requires paying attention to the costs as well as the benefits.The training then focused on concrete applications of the Five Domains of Wellbeing for youth assessment and treatment planning. MJJA brought together juvenile and family court personnel, judges, attorneys, law enforcement personnel, child welfare workers, child advocates and others committed to promoting justice for children, youth and families. Their response? New energy and ideas for engaging families and youth in lasting change, ripples that extend well beyond the Division of Youth Services.

Anna Melbin and Laura Stravino met with the Greater Boston Full Frame Network in September to present and discuss “The Five Domains of Wellbeing: Moving from Problems to People”. Thanks to the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center for hosting!

Also in September, Anna presented on the The Five Domains of Wellbeing at the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community’s ‘Shelter Policies and Services: Implications for Black Domestic Violence Survivors of African Descent’ roundtable meeting.

In late August, a task force of multiple state agencies and FFI presented a plan to improve Massachusetts government’s response to survivors of domestic or sexual violence who need housing.   Announced at a joint meeting of the Massachusetts Governor's Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence and the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, the plan outlines a bold vision-- one of people who have survived violence living and thriving in community, not simply being safe from an abusive partner. And what’s a key element of realizing this vision?  You guessed it: applying the Five Domains of Wellbeing to put people, not problems, at the center, and to help people make change that lasts.  The full report can be found at Increasing the Effectiveness of Government's Response to the Intersection of Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

For information about bringing the Five Domains of Wellbeing or FFI into your conference or organization, please contact Frances Welson.

To Get to the Good You Gotta Dance with the Wicked

Poverty, violence and trauma are wily, shape-shifting (i.e., "wicked") social problems. Simple, linear, static solutions are no match for these “wicked” problems, but if we think differently about the nature of change, solutions and what creates social good, we can begin to move the needle. This is the case made in To Get to the Good, You Gotta Dance With the Wicked, published in September by Stanford Social Innovation Review. Co-authored by Cindy Gibson, FFI founder Katya Smyth, Gail Nayowith, and Jon Zaff, the piece has been picked up by foundations and college courses and continues to generate buzz in national philanthropic and nonprofit circles.

FFI News

New Faces

More new faces this fall at the Full Frame Initiative-- our amazing Fall program interns! Siobhan Gruschow, a Masters in Public Health student from 

Boston University (pictured at left), is working on the California Domestic Violence Project. Christine Niccoli, a senior from Smith College (pictured at right), is working on the Five Domains of Wellbeing training video and other project support. If you know someone who’d like to intern at the Full Frame Initiative in 2014, send them our way!


What’s Made us Think

Scarcity BookWe recently read the book "Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much" by Eldar Shafir, a Princeton University psychology professor, and Sendhil Mullainathan, a Harvard University economics and public policy professor. The book gave us new insight into the psychology of scarcity and its impact at the societal and individual levels. Their research has shown that any form of scarcity (money or time or calories or friends, etc.), has major impact on cognitive functioning and causes people to act in ways that may address their most immediate scarcity issue, but are counterproductive in the long-term, resulting in a perpetuation of that scarcity.  The authors particularly examined poverty, and present a compelling case for changes in public policy regarding entrenched poverty. They also opened our eyes to new ways to understand our personal responses to the scarcity we experience in our daily lives.

Thank You

Change isn’t free. We are deeply grateful to all our new and renewing supporters over the last quarter. Additionally, a growing cadre of volunteers and professionals provide services pro bono or at deeply discounted rates, helping FFI extend its impact. We couldn’t do this without you!

The Arnold Foundation Giving Library; Bill Baker and Baker’s Office Supply; Carey Baker, Midnightson Designs; Kris Badetscher, Kbest Productions; Big Y Supermarkets; Bird Hovey Associates; Blue Shield of California Foundation; Lael Boesel; Nicole Corvini, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart; FACT; Allen John Gabriel; Greenfields Market; Mark and Mary Knox; Erin Miller; Daniel Morales; Adones Orengo; Alberto Carlos Peart;Sand Dollar Fund; Sam Stone, Anderson Duff, and Michael Rader, Wolf Greenfield & Sacks, P.C.; US Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime; Omari Walker and the Resiliency Foundation; and Ann-Marie White.

Copyright © 2013 The Full Frame Initiative, All rights reserved.
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