Why services and systems should flip their perspective


Why Full Frame?

Full Frame is a term from documentary filmmaking: to truly show a character, a film cannot just focus on the individual. Instead, the filmmaker must pull the lens all the way back and fill the frame with the environment, the relationships, the events, and the interactions that define and are defined by the character. Full Frame programs go beyond being holistic, to work with environment and people—and to support change in both. 

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What DSV Cohort members are saying

Looking at the Full Frame of someone's life gets us away from focusing on the problem of domestic violence and the limited solutions that are currently recognized within the movement (shelter, law enforcement). Using the Five Domains of Wellbeing in the work lets us examine together the tradeoffs survivors are asked to make in accessing services.  This has really made it clear that services and programs are not the only answer, and that individual and community assets need to be recognized. The most exciting thing about the cohort has been seeing what Full Frame work looks like in the different communities and acknowledging and sharing the various 'out of the box' ideas and practices that are really making a difference.
—Maria Pizzimenti, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence

Rich Hill premiere

Friday, August 15
7:30 p.m.
Brattle Theater
Cambridge, MA
Discounted tickets with promotional code: RICHHILL2014

Panel discussion to follow the film with FFI and GB Network member organizations:
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
Hyde Square Task Force
Julie's Family Learning Program
My Life My Choice
On The Rise
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
The Salasin Project - Western Mass Training Consortium
Youth on Fire - AIDS Action Committee


What our partners are saying

The Five Domains of Wellbeing can assist children service workers in seeing the big picture and seeing people as people, not just their problems. How we treat families will change how families engage with the system. Using the Five Domains of Wellbeing can ultimately help workers support families in sustaining their progress long after we conclude our intervention.
—Carla Glizow,
Quality Assurance Unit Manager, Missouri Children's Division



Summer 2014
Dear Allies and Friends,

Because of your commitment to our mission, your financial support, your thought partnership, and your engagement in our projects, the Full Frame Initiative is midway through its most successful year yet. The first part of the year has been a near blur of new staff and new project development, and of meeting new allies as I and others on the FFI team travel and speak to audiences eager to put a “full frame” on their work. 

Over the past few months, one of our catch phrases—“put people, not problems, at the center of attention”—has really caught on. We love it because it just makes sense, and because thinking this way:
1. reflects that we’re all more alike than we are different (thanks to our friends at Missouri DYS for this core belief!) 
2. helps us all move beyond silos of “issues” and “problems” 
3. makes it easier to see strengths and to understand why people make certain choices, instead of getting stuck on the choices they make

We’re not the only ones who think this way. There are Full Frame allies like James Encinas in California, who, on a “ride for change” across the country to raise awareness for trauma-informed systems, listened to stories from people and helped to translate FFI’s Five Domains of Wellbeing into everyday language; or like Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, the filmmakers who created the award winning documentary Rich Hill, and with whom FFI is honored to partner to spread the film’s message of resilience and hope. They had the discipline to not narrate the lives of three boys and their families, so that their stories can be shown and the boys’ words can stand on their own. 

We tip our sunhats to them, to you, and to all Full Frame champions.

- Katya and the FFI Team


Spotlight on Partners & Projects

New Domestic & Sexual Violence Cohort Demonstration Project: Taking action to move from services to social change

FFI’s just-released report and action plan calls on the Domestic and Sexual Violence (DSV) field to reclaim its social justice roots, critically examine how it responds to the reality of violence survivors' lives (especially when the violence is not the only challenge being faced), and move forward in new ways to ensure that survivors, their families, and their communities are part of efforts and services that recognize their assets and strengths. This report also marks the move from planning to action of FFI’s newly launched DSV Cohort Demonstration Project10 organizations from around the country working together to redefine their programs and their work through FFI’s Five Domains of Wellbeing. Over the next three years, we will collectively demonstrate the power and impact of this approach, and create tools that will help others become more Full Frame. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) provided seed funding for this Cohort’s launch. FFI project contact: Anna Melbin.

The Intersection of Violence and Homelessness: On the ground with systems change in Massachusetts

FFI has been working with amazing representatives from four Massachusetts state agencies, two interagency councils, and three statewide provider coalitions to implement a plan to better integrate the Commonwealth’s fragmented systems for adult individual and family homelessness with the Commonwealth’s responses to domestic and sexual violence. FFI’s Five Domains of Wellbeing is the unifying framework throughout the plan. Over the past few months, FFI has conducted trainings on the Five Domains of Wellbeing for government agency representatives and community-based practitioners who contract with the state to provide services. Follow-up coaching and additional training by FFI will continue to build capacity and will support members of the Integration Task Force—the interagency group leading this charge—and its committees in using the Five Domains of Wellbeing to undergird their policy work. Implementation is supported by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Boston Foundation. FFI project contact: Katya Smyth.

Rich Hill Film: FFI hosts Boston-area premiere on August 15th

We took our name—Full Frame—from the documentary film industry, where the term refers to showing people in their contexts and communities, and how they shape and are shaped by their environments. So it’s a real thrill to be partnering with the 2014 Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary Rich Hill—itself a Full Frame film—to spur and facilitate conversations about poverty, violence, trauma and the power of hope. The film centers on three boys and their families in the small town of Rich Hill, Missouri. It doesn’t shy away from the challenges they face, but it also doesn’t present them through the perspective of problems or system. Rich Hill is a beautiful, hard, and ultimately hopeful film about kids’ hopes and dreams, and, above all, their love for their families. Join FFI and members of the Greater Boston Full Frame Network on August 15 at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge for the Rich Hill event, or look for other showings starting August 1 when the film opens nationally in select theaters. It will also be available On Demand starting August 5. 

More Food for Thought: Programs aren't everything!

This spring, the Greater Boston Full Frame Network (GB Network) began an important partnership with Dr. Lehn Benjamin, Professor at Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and co-author of “Programs Aren't Everything,” an article in the Spring 2014 Stanford Social Innovation Review. Lehn’s work centers on lifting up the key role of frontline staff, as well as the personal agency of program participants, as vital to progress and healing. Neither of these gets “measured” in most evaluation models. Lehn is singing our tune, and when she expressed interest in working with Full Frame programs to study the craft of their frontline practice, FFI and GB Network organizations jumped. The research is underway; we’re excited to see the results. Watch this space for more news on this project. FFI project contact: Anna Melbin.

FFI takes on new project this summer

FFI is now working not only with Missouri's juvenile justice system, but also with the state’s child welfare system, offering us huge new opportunities to positively impact the lives of kids and families living at the intersection of poverty, violence and trauma. Through a contract with Casey Family Programs, FFI is supporting Missouri Children’s Division’s efforts to strengthen family engagement, increase wellbeing and help families make change that lasts. As part of this project, FFI will use the award-winning film Rich Hill in six Community Conversations across Missouri to illuminate lives of families in poverty and solicit input into how a Full Frame Approach could support positive, sustainable change for kids and families involved with the child welfare system. FFI project contact: Katya Smyth.

FFI News

Welcome new staff

We’re growing fast!  If you partner with us now or in the future, you almost certainly will have a chance to work with Ashley Mark (Operations and Special Projects Coordinator), Leora Viega Rifkin (Network Engagement Manager), Lotus Yu (Public Partnerships Manager) and Janna Walters-Gidseg (Executive Assistant). Read more about our team on the website, and check back frequently—we expect to be expanding again in the near future. 

Board changes

After five yearCarleneLastBoardMeetings serving on the FFI Board of Directors and as Chair (and two years prior to that as functioning chair before FFI was a formal organization!), founding Board member Carlene Pavlos “retired” to support FFI in other ways. Words are insufficient to express our thanks for the contributions made by Carlene to FFI’s launch and growth. Her tenacity, belief in our mission, and willingness to laugh at bad jokes were invaluable. In other Board transitions, Miki Akimoto, Ceasar McDowell, and Neil Maniar have rotated off the Board this year at the end of their terms. We are pleased to announce the election of Erin Miller as Chair, and Mari Brennan Barrera as Treasurer. FFI extends heartfelt appreciation to all these amazing volunteers. 

Good-bye to special staff, incredible interns

FFI thanks Frances Welson, who retired earlier this year, and Jamila Wilson, who joined us for a short-term development position, for their contributions to the organization. We also thank Amanda Carbonneau (Colby College), Siobhan Gruschow (Boston University), Christine Niccoli (Smith College), and Shannon Sullivan (Simmons College), who all recently completed internships at FFI. No matter how much FFI grows, we’ll always have a place for motivated, curious students who believe in the FFI mission.

Thank You

Change isn’t free. FFI’s funding comes from private philanthropy and earned income. We are deeply grateful to all our new and renewing supporters for the first part of the year. Your support fuels FFI’s growth and impact! 

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