Empowering Families and Youth in Ohio

Empowering Families & Providing Hope Along An Inspired Path

By Julie Driskill, Director of DEFY Mentoring and certified Path Instructor

Defining SUCCESS is difficult.  Most people equate it with wealth, power, and happiness. But true success, a harvest, is not a thing you acquire or achieve. It is not a destination, but a journey - a GROWTH PROCESS you embark on your whole life long. For over forty years an Ohio non-profit organization, Family & Youth Initiatives, has set out to build transformative MENTORING relationships to “empower families and provide hope” for all who dare venture that inspired path. Connecting families and individuals to view the world in a deeper, more inspired way, FYI has built strong foundations for growth through education, training, and support over the years:

  • Parenting Networks – three locations in surrounding communities assisting with unplanned pregnancies or individuals seeking educational tools to become a better parent often desiring material assistance, and referrals for food, housing, and financial assistance
  • Real Life Teen Choices – a dynamic weeklong public in-school self-development and relationship management curriculum spanning six Ohio counties reinforcing positive character development and strategic decision making
  • Little Scholars – a free preparatory preschool program encouraging social and emotional education that partners parents/caregivers with certified teachers working together in the classroom to forge healthy child development in preparation for kindergarten enrollment
  • Gardening for Health – community gardens that empower residents with skills needed to grow, harvest, cook, and preserve fresh vegetables for healthier food choices and living
  • GED & Job Seekers Networking – helping individuals achieve goals of acquiring a GED credential with material assistance and tutoring sessions while aligning them with another fellow non-profit, Job Seekers Network, to explore career opportunities, internships, and hands-on training in industry-specific fields
  • DEFY – a four-tiered teen mentoring program that provides group mentoring to older elementary students, one-on-one adult mentoring for middle and high school students, after-school club programming, and peer listening opportunities and training for teens desiring to help other teens

Success is not limited to those with financial resources or special talents. It is available to anyone willing to learn a few practical principles and then have the courage to follow through with them day to day. One of the most important key principles to success is to know your purpose.  In 2019 FYI embarked on a partnership with The Path Program and the #EveryHighSchoolInAmerica Movement to empower their community outreach and strengthen their organization by using The Path framework tools to help create a personal mission statement in perfect alignment with who they are, what they have came here to do, and how they are seeking to accomplish it in the above six programming initiatives. The fields of Family & Youth Initiatives are truly ripe for a harvest of success.  The knowledge that Path principles are providing employees and volunteers of FYI will only embolden efforts as they aide their clients in envisioning greater futures of their own design. By anchoring their clients to the present moment’s opportunities, families and individuals will become more confident, assured, and hopeful in moving along their desired futures. This is truly a WIN-WIN-WIN collaboration.

In FYI’s latest outreach, the youth development team will be piloting the Path program this summer in two county juvenile court systems to the highest-risk youth populations. Teens enrolled in the court systems will experience the Path programming in a two day/six week sessions that will help them to define a clear sense of who they are, what they are hard-wired to bring to the world, and why. At the completion of the course qualified participants will be paired with a local business mentor for a year where they will complete job search training, resume building, and mock interviews with hopefully eventual job placement. Mentors will help them to deploy their mission and vision by believing in them before the teens even understand how to believe in themselves. By walking beside a young person, they will eventually build trust and a relationship that will earn the right to speak into their lives. FYI firmly believes and has proven that one consistent, caring adult showing up in a teen’s life can make all the difference.

Whit Hobbs, a celebrated author, wrote,

“Success is waking up in the morning, whoever you are, wherever you are, however old or young, and bounding out of bed because there’s something out there that you love to do, that you believe in, that you’re good at- something that’s bigger than you are, and you can hardly wait to get at it again today.”

This is the true measure of success and certainly the right path to GROWING PEOPLE. Through the melding of FYI connections and Path principles a harvest will be realized. Raising excellent future husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and successful citizens for tomorrow is the end goal. It is fun to sow seeds and watch people grow.  Thanks to years of faithful service to others, and armed with proven Path principles, FYI is poised for the greatest harvest celebration of all time! It’s going to be a party! Tallyho!

 On the Path to #EveryHighSchoolInAmerica 


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