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Rave Review event recognizes FYI stars

FYI’s first Rave Review event is drawing … rave reviews.

This is a new series of quarterly celebrations created to honor students, parents and volunteers who have excelled within our programs. The event, which includes an educational element, is hosted by a local church which recruits volunteers to assist FYI in loving, praising and rewarding the honorees.

“It was nice to hear how those we honored are growing, and I believe they were encouraged by the recognition,” said Executive Director Nikki Stefanow. “Everyone participated in the educational aspect of learning about the five love languages, even the church volunteers.”

The first Rave Review event was held March 18 at long-time FYI partner Lawrenceville Church of God. Three students, one parent and two volunteers from our Parenting Network and Mentoring Program were honored. This first event had a March Madness basketball theme.

“The goal of the event was to create a common ground where our clients could be praised and encouraged to keep taking the right steps and making good decisions to change and enrich their circumstances and relationships,” said Julie Driskill, FYI’s Mentoring Program Co-Director who was part of our planning team. “By hosting these events at churches we hope to connect and engage more volunteers. I believe that happened.”

Pastor Alan Cain was very pleased with how things turned out.

“I thought it was really significant for the ones who were able to be there,” he said. “They were hiding under their hats a little when we were praising them, but they were probably shy because they weren’t used to being praised. Telling them ‘You can succeed’ and ‘Are doing it well’ is powerful.”

He added that this power could be felt by everyone there.

“We had a room full of people, and praising them is powerful,” he said. “The No. 1 way to grow a church is to celebrate what they are doing right, to praise them, and tell them who they are in God’s eyes, that they are loved. The momentum and power that you unleash in people when they feel not only appreciated, but encouraged about what their gifts are is just amazing. Not that we ignore the truth in a person’s life when they need it, but when you sandwich help with praise, it can be very effective.”

Julie felt the praise hit the mark.

“The clients and volunteers being honored were celebrated and felt grateful to be acknowledged,” said Julie. “This shared experience deepened our relationship with them and acts as a benchmark/checkpoint that we can refer to in the future as we continue to work with them.

“Despite the terrible weather, the atmosphere was warm and inviting,” Julie added. “We had a blast. Rebecca (Swearingen, FYI’s Real Life Teen Choices Director) taught a great class and God was praised! Amen and amen. Rave Review 1.0 was a success.”

Nikki spoke about our continued focus for future Rave Review.

“There are two things I would like to see come out of these mini-events,” she said. “First, that the people we are recognizing are encouraged and empowered to continue in their growth process. Second, that we get better connected with churches that are a safe haven for these families to extend their support system beyond our reach.”

Another Rave Review is being planned for June. If you or your church would like to be a part of it, or part of a future Rave Review, give us a call at (937) 845-0403.

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