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Teaching Transitions
The concept of transitions is simple enough: an external change causes an internal emotional reaction that must be carefully managed for the change to be successful.

But even a concept so intuitive needs some explaining when teaching it to others.
To maximize the impact of the Transition framework, the teaching tools that one uses should be tailored to the situation at hand. For example, a social worker helping foster youth manage their individual transitions out of state care needs a different set of tools than a community activist working to unite a racially divided neighborhood.

Additionally, the tools that one uses depend on which phase—Endings, Neutral Zone, or New Beginnings—individuals and groups are experiencing. The tools below are organized to help you choose those most appropriate for your needs. The categories, however, are not rigid.  Some individual tools might be helpful for groups as well and some tools can be used in multiple transition phases.

Most of these resources were drawn from the work of AFF grantees, so they were developed for youth in foster care and communities facing conflict.  Still, they address key Transition ideas and can be adapted to fit a wide range of social change contexts.  Use them to spark your own ideas for Transition resources, and help us grow our Knowledge Bank. Submit your suggestions to

There are many ways to use and present the Transition framework. Its power lies in adapting it to your own situation.

Individual Transition Tools
These resources can help those who are guiding individuals through changes that have happened to them or changes they want to make, including:

  • placement in foster care
  • death of a loved one
  • adolescence   
  • intimate abuse
  • end of a relationship
  • struggles with addiction
  • loss of a job
  • homelessness
  • involvement with the criminal justice system

These tools address particular points within the three Transition phases: 

Endings Tools
Neutral Zone Tools
New Beginning Tools

Tools for Special Settings: 

Foster Care

Group Transition Tools
These resources can be useful for groups experiencing a community change, including:

  • Environmental conflicts
  • Anti-gay Bias
  • School reform
  • Economic shifts
  • Immigration conflicts
  • Gentrification
  • Police-Community Tensions
  • Racial or Religious Divisions

When applying Transitions to changes that are happening in a community or group, it is still helpful to think about how each different participant might use the framework. You will notice that some of the same activities developed for individual transitions can be used in a community setting with a facilitator. 

Tools for Change Leaders & Partners
Tools for All Participants


Sharing an Ending

Sharing an Ending

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