More than 120 community residents and leaders from St. Louis nonprofit and public systems gathered together on January 23 for a two-hour Community Education and Outreach Event to learn more about Kids Deserve Wellbeing (KDW). This is a broad-based movement building effort that seeks to make wellbeing—the needs and experiences universally needed in combination for health and hope—the common heartbeat of the systems, formal and an informal, that support child welfare in the St. Louis region. Welcoming remarks were offered by Michael Howard, CEO of the Youthbridge Community Foundation (pictured left with Katya Fels Smyth), the bedrock funder for the initiative. Katya Smyth, Founder and CEO of The Full Frame Initiative, delivered a presentation exploring the pressing need to view kids and families in the full frame of their lives. A panel of community and systems leaders rounded out the program by sharing their excitement about the project and offer the audience a glimpse of what it means to adopt a wellbeing orientation. We offer a warm thank you to our panelists (pictured below): Tim Decker, Director of Missouri’s Children’s Division; Ben Burkemper, St. Louis County Family Court Administrator; Arvell Keithley, a student at St. Louis Community College; Don Pokorney, Regional Administrator for Children’s Division; and Jennifer Brinkmann, President of Alive and Well Communities. This wellbeing movement offers an opportunity to bust through silos, enabling deep collaboration of the various agencies and resources serving kids and families to foster long-term, lasting wellbeing. Kids Deserve Wellbeing works at the intersection of issues addressed by other initiatives in St. Louis, and it spans the boundaries of government, nonprofits and community, using the Five Domains of Wellbeing as a shared conceptual framework to guide the work.
We invite attendees and their colleagues to join us in our effort to bring a wellbeing orientation to services for kids by attending one of the five free, one-day trainings being offered in the St. Louis region in February and March of 2018.