May 23: How We Do Our Work and Why it Matters

REACH Annual Meeting
How We Do Our Work and Why it Matters
Thursday, May 23, 2019
6:00 p.m.  – Reception and Heavy hors d’oeuvres
7:00 p.m. – Annual Update and Awards

On May 23, REACH will host our Annual Meeting at the Massachusetts Medical Society in the Conference Center at Waltham Woods. The theme, “How we do our work and why it matters,” will highlight how we do our work through the Full Frame Initiative’s Five Domains of Wellbeing model.

What are the Five Domains of Wellbeing?

Social Connectedness – The degree to which we have and perceive a sufficient number and diversity of relationships that allow us to give and receive information, emotional support and material aid; create a sense of belonging and value; and foster growth.

Stability – The degree to which we can expect our situation and status to be fundamentally the same from one day to the next, where there is adequate predictability for us to concentrate on the here-and-now and on the future, growth and change; and where small obstacles don’t set off big cascades.

Safety – The degree to which we can be our authentic selves and not be at heightened risk of physical or emotional harm.

Mastery – The degree to which we feel in control of our fate and the decisions we make, and where we experience some correlation between efforts and outcomes.

Meaningful Access to Relevant Resources – The degree to which we can meet needs particularly important for our situation in ways that are not extremely difficult, and are not degrading or dangerous.

Why does REACH use the Full Frame Approach?

At REACH, our Community and Residential Advocates work with survivors offering support, validation, information, and advocacy. Survivors are the experts of their own lives, and possess the strength and courage to cope with the abuse and make decisions to keep themselves and their children safe. The Full Frame Approach is geared toward improving conditions for individuals, families, and communities so that people have greater access to five Domains of Wellbeing: increased social connectedness, safety, stability, mastery, and meaningful access to relevant resources– the set of needs and experiences universally required, in combination and balance, for health and hope. REACH uses the Full Frame Approach to support survivors in identifying their concerns, access resources to address concerns and goals, and enhance safety.

We are all driven to meet our needs in all five of these domains. When we move forward, we may face difficult tradeoffs among these domains. This is also true for survivors of domestic violence. For example, in order to increase safety, a survivor may need to move to a shelter in another town. The tradeoff for safety is that the survivor may be decreasing their social connections by having to move to a community far away from their natural supports; leaving their faith community; children are sometimes forced to leave their friends and their school community, etc. When the tradeoffs are too big, change doesn’t last, even when people are really motivated to make and sustain change.

Think about a time when YOU had to make a trade-off. Were you choosing between two potentially positive choices or did you have to choose between the “lesser of two evils”?  How did that work out for you? What are the hardest choices you’ve ever had to make? Have the tradeoffs ever seemed so difficult that you simply couldn’t sustain the change? REACH recognizes that we can’t help survivors increase their safety in ways that are going to last unless we listen to the tradeoffs safety creates, and help them address these tradeoffs.

Our focus on wellbeing flows through all of our work – with survivors, with community members, with each other. We are excited to celebrate two women who inspire our work: the founder of the Full Frame Initiative and a teacher who helps students find their own power.

Award Recipients

Mary Young Award

Katya Fels Smyth
Founder and CEO of the Full Frame Initiative

Katya Fels Smyth

Katya grew up in New Jersey and went to high school in Massachusetts, where she volunteered at one of the state’s first shelters for homeless families. While getting a degree in biology from Harvard, Katya continued working with people who are homeless, eventually becoming co-director of one of Cambridge, MA’s first emergency shelters. A hit-and-run of one of the shelter’s guests, uninvestigated by police, combined with the advice and vision of other shelter guests, led her to found Cambridge-based On The Rise, Inc. in 1995. On The Rise was widely recognized for its Full Frame Approach to working with women facing homelessness, trauma, and crisis. In 2007, Katya left to work on what would become the Full Frame Initiative. She launched FFI’s systemic collaborations that are bringing a wellbeing orientation to Missouri’s juvenile justice and child welfare systems and the St. Louis County courts, and a multi-system effort in Massachusetts to reframe the government’s approach to the intersection of homelessness, sexual assault, and domestic violence. A former Research Affiliate with MIT’s Community Innovators Lab, Research Fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Echoing Green Fellow and Claneil Foundation Emerging Leaders Fellow, Katya speaks, publishes, and advocates nationally for addressing poverty, violence, trauma, and oppression by removing barriers to wellbeing. She has an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, and a deep belief in the power of people to do good by and for each other. This, combined with her sense that our country isn’t fully living into that potential, feed her commitment to FFI, bolstered by amazing colleagues and copious coffee consumption. Katya is a terrible gardener and decent cook who lives in Western Massachusetts with her amazing husband and kids, and an unwieldy menagerie of dogs, cats and donkeys.  

Ruth and Virginia Bigwood Award

Kathleen Brophy
Wellesley High School Fitness and Health Teacher

Kathleen Brophy

Kathy has been in the Health and Wellness field for the past 26 years. She is in her 12th year as a Fitness and Health Teacher at Wellesley High School.  She is the 2015 Massachusetts Association for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, as well as the 2016 Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America Eastern District High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Kathy’s work in her Power-Up class was highlighted in a 2016 documentary by Paul Falcone, from Wellesley Public Media. Her inspiration to teach this class came from the loss of a former student, in 2004. “You are never too tall to bend down to help a child” is worn on the back of every shirt upon the graduation of this course. This was Rachel’s quote as she was studying to be a teacher before her life ended abruptly due to dating violence.  Kathy also enjoys ballroom dance and in 2018, she placed 2nd in Smooth, and was named American Rhythm champion from North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association. She enjoys using this as a platform to bring awareness to LGBTQ+ youth at risk and the need for accepting communities and affirming institutions. Kathy is married to her wife Maria and the proud mom of Gina and Joseph.

To RSVP, please email