What Being Pro-Life Means to FYI
At Family & Youth Initiatives, being pro-life means being dedicated to empowering, equipping, and encouraging children and families. FYI sees the term pro-life in a more comprehensive light.
“It means more than just rescuing a baby from abortion; it’s about providing hope and helping people from conception to death,” said FYI Executive Director Nikki Stefanow. “It’s about enabling people to live the life that God has called them to live, and promoting that.”
Fairborn Parenting Network Coordinator Anna Kennedy recently related an experience she had with a client that perfectly encapsulates how we are being used to help save lives.
A young adult client came to us in tears because she had been in a dysfunctional relationship and had become pregnant. Her parents were strongly pushing her to get an abortion and were embarrassed by her “mistake,” despite being a family of faith.
“She was in turmoil because she didn’t have any support from family or friends and was lost on what to do,” Anna recalled. “We quickly showed her we were her support and we weren’t just going to help her through her pregnancy, but were also going to stay with her until she didn’t need us anymore. If she chose adoption, we would help her though that as well.”
She decided she didn’t want to have an abortion.
“She thanked us over and over again on numerous visits for helping her to choose life for her baby,” Anna continued. “We empowered her, mentored her, and taught her how to be the best mom she could possibly be. I still hear from her, how her son is the best thing that ever happened to her and how much she appreciated us during such a difficult time in her life.”
FYI helps women throughout their pregnancy. Then once a client’s baby is born, FYI helps parents develop skills that keep that baby safe and provide stability for that baby and the parents as the child grows up.
“When they move into those elementary years, it is helping those kids feel safe,” Nikki said. “A lot of them are not growing up in a safe environment these days. Their home is filled with dysfunction, addiction, and trauma, and we are trying to help reduce that for them.”
Nikki referred to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) assessment test. It factors in 10 categories of trauma that can happen as a child grows up, major things like loss of parents, addictions at home, and abuse. If four or more happen to the child before the age of 18, there’s a higher risk of the child gravitating to life-destroying choices like addiction, dropping out of school, unhealthy relationships and health issues.
“If we can eliminate just one of those, we can impact that life in a significant way,” she said.
What determines success for a child despite a high ACES score?
“The difference is that one person invested in you, believed in you and helped you build resiliency. That person may only be there temporarily, but they make a difference,” said Nikki. “Oprah’s (Winfrey) person was her second-grade teacher. For me, it is my husband. That’s why it's important to me to have people at FYI who love our clients. We might be their “one person”. If they can’t love the ones we serve, they can’t be here. It’s about giving them life to its fullest, to experience in their life what provides joy and happiness. It’s about the fact that everybody matters.”
“So when we’re talking about pro life that’s what we are talking about,” she continued. “We’re talking about parents getting a chance to be good parents. I don’t want them to lose their children to child services, because then they lose hope. I’ve seen that happen. It destroys their life.”
So FYI’s approach to being pro-life is preventative and proactive instead of reactive.
“Everyone should be allowed to live their life to the fullest, no matter what age they are,” said Nikki. “Telling them that they are not valued is wrong. God made each and every one of us for a specific reason, and we need the opportunity to do the things He’s called us to do.”
Watch a video from Anna below: