FYI Executive Director Nikki Stefanow has been given a grand vision of where FYI is heading and if you want to get a glimpse of that vision just stop into FYI’s office.
FYI is in the middle of phase one of a major facility upgrade with modern updates that reflect our recent forward progression, creating optimal organization in an ultra-efficient service-focused environment.
We are doing it with a lot of help from our friends.
“I’m all about making due with stuff, but when a generous donor asks, ‘What do you need in order to better fulfill your mission?’ and then helps fund it … that’s a God thing,” Nikki said.
“We’ve needed this for a long time, we just didn’t have the money to do it. Our donor said there’s nothing that bothers them more than seeing a ministry hindered because they didn’t have the money to get what they needed.”
Like any nonprofit, FYI has made due with what it’s been given for a long time, is thankful for them, and has made them work. But Nikki feels we need to be able to better adapt.
“It’s about moving forward; it’s about what we need now,” she said. “The way we were set up in the past worked well for what we were doing. With COVID, we had to revamp our approach, and therefore our space, to meet that challenge.”
That’s why our old conference room is being revamped, to provide our Real Life ... Teen Choices educators with their own space where they can effectively do virtual teaching. Thanks to COVID, that need became immediately pressing. That’s why it was part of the first phase.
“This facility upgrade is going to allow our team to function in a much more efficient way,” Nikki said. “It’s also been boosting their morale. They are excited about having some new, updated space to work in. It’s not just about new furniture.”
Real Life Director Rebecca Swearingen agrees that the changes are very helpful.
“When I have to do a video meeting, or training, or a webinar and I’m out here now, it is super distracting,” she said. “With the new remodeling, I’ll be able to have uninterrupted meetings. I can be more productive and effective.”
Nikki is aware that there may be perceptions that the cost of the project is too extravagant.
“I’m sure someone will think this money could be better spent on something else, but it is important to invest in the dedicated people who do the work here,” she said. “They are so worth it. They are the ones who are directly impacting our clients and carrying out our mission. They need to be able to do that in an environment that helps the mission thrive, not cause a stumbling block.”
Looks do say something about your organization.
“People form an opinion of you in the first 30 seconds they meet you, and they form a lasting impression of you in the first three minutes,” Nikki said. “If you make a bad first impression, you have to meet that person 10 times and make a good impression every time in order for that person to change their opinion of you. You may never get a second chance for them to change their mind about you, so first impressions are extremely important.”
We’ve been slowly rebranding ourselves to maximize our public perception.
“It’s staying relevant without cutting off our roots,” Nikki said. “It’s not just about how everything looks; it’s a feeling. When people walk in our door, they are going to feel welcome. They’ll be able to feel the essence of what is happening here. I want them to say ‘There’s something about FYI that makes me want to be a part of that! That’s the place I want to work or volunteer.’”
There is a spiritual truth that runs through the project as well.
“A recent morning devotion was about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit, and how we must take care of them,” she said. “You want your work environment to reflect that kind of truth. Jesus doesn’t have a shabby house, so we who serve Him shouldn’t have one either. I’m ecstatic to have an area where our team will have everything they need to do God’s work.
We will only proceed with the remodeling as God provides. The needs are indeed great, so we’re doing it in stages. We haven’t even finished the first stage and we are already thinking about the second one. We are going to need help to finish this; to move things, to raise more money.”
If you’d like to help or just want to stop in and get a personal tour of the progress, just give us a call at (937) 845-0403.