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Mentoring Program shifts focus to community

FYI’s Mentoring Program will be shifting some of its resources to meet kids out in the community.

“Our first preference is to be working in the school system alongside teachers and administrators,” said Mentoring Program Co-Director Julie Driskill. “But right now, we want to identify students who are in need where they are at, not just in schools, and we’re welcoming recommendations from the community.”

The program’s growing success in the Tecumseh and Greenon school districts has been temporarily slowed this fall due to the pandemic. Mentoring plans for both are still in the planning stages as schools assess the return of students first. Meanwhile, two new staff members will help the program spread its wings further into the community at large.

Staci Sowders, a Sinclair Community College and Beavercreek High School grad who volunteered as a mentor at Greenon last year, will be the program coordinator this year.

“I’m here because I have a passion for helping the youth of our community,” she said. “I really want youth and teens to find their place in the world and discover their passions.”

Driskill wants to make sure every child feels like he or she matters.

“Right now, we aren’t able to be there in person, but we can still have a virtual reach. Whatever it takes for a child to know that they matter is what we are going to do,” Driskill said.

To that end, Stefan Swanson has been hired to work in the neighborhoods of Springfield. A graduate from Atlanta Bible College with an associate’s degree in ministry and theology, he came to Springfield because he felt called here to start a discipleship program.

“Our goal is to enrich the lives of others through other enriched lives by utilizing biblical principles,” said Swanson. He will be working with the Dream City Church and its ROCK after-school program, pioneered by Jackie Mounts. This will allow FYI to establish a presence in the Springfield community and provide help when needed. Stefan would like to start a bike ministry as well, repairing bikes and then giving them to participating youth.

Meanwhile, the well-established DEFY after-school program will be meeting remotely to begin the school year.Driskill and Mentoring Program Co-Director Bryan Moore are also actively speaking with other Clark County schools about expanding into their districts.

For more information, call FYI at (937) 845-0403 or email

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