Strengths-Centered Advocacy

Creating welcoming, empowering, and healing shelters.

Empowering. Healing. Life-changing…

These are some of the words survivor have used to describe Strengths-Centered Advocacy, an innovative approach to shelter-based services that will transform your program from the inside out.

In simplest terms, the model consists of a unique integration of positive psychology, the Gallup Organization’s CliftonStrengths assessment and Friendship Home’s philosophy of empowerment‐based services.

Multi-Layered Benefits

Strengths-Centered Advocacy is unique in that it works on three levels:

  • It creates more individualized and empowering support and services for survivors and children who have experienced domestic violence.
  • It creates a more supportive, positive and empowering work environment for advocates, allowing them to stay more connected to their personal passion for advocacy work.
  • It reduces turnover, and increases staff satisfaction, engagement and team building.

Why does focusing on strengths matter?

Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses is nothing new to advocates. While advocates have embraced strengths philosophy for years, there is an increasing amount of research to back up what we have always known. Studies have shown a link between discovering and applying one’s strengths in meaningful ways and resilience, or the ability to “bounce back” following a traumatic event.

Just a Few of the Benefits

Benefits For Survivors

  • builds confidence and resilience
  • creates positive, affirming framework to help heal the scars of emotional and verbal abuse
  • honors each survivor’s unique approach to identifying and working toward personal goals while in shelter and beyond
  • creates a more harmonious shelter environment
  • strengthens parent‐child relationships and parenting skills
  • provides a tangible resource for job interviews

Benefits For Children

  • builds positive self‐concept
  • strengthens resilience and hope
  • encourages parents to utilize strengths-based parenting

Benefits For Advocates

  • increases awareness of personal strengths and how to apply them in advocacy
  • strengthens connection to personal passion for advocacy
  • increases ability to work effectively and compassionately with survivors and children as unique individuals
  • creates a positive work environment where people feel valued for who they truly are
  • decreases potential for burnout and vicarious trauma

Benefits For Your Agency

  • improves efficiency by intentionally maximizing talents and strengths to accomplish individual and group goals
  • improves staff satisfaction, longevity, and engagement
  • encourages individualized appreciation and praise
  • encourages multiple perspectives and deepens problem‐solving; builds strong teams

How can my organization begin practicing
Strengths‐Centered Advocacy?

Friendship Home has been developing, implementing and refining Strengths-Centered Advocacy since 2000. We have developed a complete curriculum along with an engaging and individualized staff training to help you build a solid foundation for implementing Strengths-Centered Advocacy. This includes a tool kit full of resources and activities to help as you put theory into practice.

For more information, please contact Julie Havener, Coordinator of Strengths-Centered Advocacy Services at Friendship Home at (402)437‐9323 or We can customize a package of learning opportunities and consultation which will best fit the needs of your organization.

Strengths‐Centered Advocacy

Transforming Shelters from the Inside Out

P.O. Box 85358
Lincoln, NE 68501

“Taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder was a turning point for me. At Friendship Home I was surrounded by people who completely supported me for who I was. It was the first time in my entire life that I had ever felt safe—really safe, and I was able to be my whole self. I have a peaceful sense of contentment with my life and who I am. After all these years, I am really discovering who I am, and that I like myself.” –Friendship Home Resident

“One of my strengths is Confidence. That means that I believe my thoughts and myself. I choose to do the right thing and be a leader, not a follower. Some people take the wrong path but I find my own way. –Child at Friendship Home

“While at Friendship Home, my daughter was able to learn what her strengths are. This really helped her, but it also helped me as her mother! I pay more attention to her strengths now and encourage them. I understand where she is sensitive and approach her differently. She doesn’t talk about herself very often, and this has helped her to focus on herself in a positive way.” –Friendship Home Resident