What is Finding-Nico?
Finding-Nico is less about this “Nico” character and more about community. Finding-Nico is a community of individuals coming together for a common goal: growth and development. Life presents all of us with our own trials and tribulations, and in that way, we are by no means alone when it comes to dealing with it. By sharing our struggles with each other, the burden is lessened, answers become more accessible, and our effect in taking the world on head first is greater. Combining the strengths, talents, and resources of hundreds of people is what Finding-Nico is all about.
It all started when Brandon Strozier, Ministry Leader of Second Story, asked me to start a weekly series with fellow college-aged adults on adversity and perseverance. Second Story is a young adult Ministry organized by First Baptist Church in Columbus, GA. Brandon asked me to use my college, military, and philanthropy experience to initiate personal discussions on growth and ignite resilience within the Second Story community.
I asked Brandon why he started Finding-Nico and what he hoped to accomplish when initially planting it.
“At Second Story, we work with an age group that is by definition, in transition. Nico arrived and endeared himself quickly to our community. His uncanny ability to make people around him feel completely comfortable was a defining characteristic. Thus, when we noted these things, we worked quickly to carve out a legitimate role for him. His military background helped cultivate a specific way of living that may best be described as a life spent fully knowing those around him. With knowledge and empathy, he builds open lines of dialogue with friends and strangers alike to allow all parties involved a chance to be strengthened, encouraged and helped. Finding-Nico is a space for him to share this message and Second Story looks forward to helping Nico reach a larger and larger audience with that transformative way of living.”
We quickly learned it was less about my life and my experiences, and more about the shared experiences of those in our community. Nothing we go through needs to be handled alone. In most cases, we are not the first to face the adversity at our doorstep. By sharing our experiences and lessons learned, and by supporting one another, anything is possible.
For weeks, we opened our hearts and our minds. We shared funny stories, and some very personal ones too. The transparency of everyone was truly amazing. People continued to come back time and time again. We used our individual experiences for collective growth. We continued to grow closer as the weeks went on. One hour became two and then four, and three weeks quickly became six. We became more connected and understanding to those around us. So many amazing things came to light, just by conversing and being present.
When I had the idea of a fun “little van project”, it didn’t take long before it grew into a large endeavor. The project started as a journey to find who I was but rapidly turned to a community engagement. People in our group started sharing insights and involving their friends. Next, people started offering tools and resources. The support was overwhelming. Before I knew it, I was “trying” to create a website to inform and engage as many people as possible.
I can go on for days but I will leave you with this: “Finding-Nico started a small endeavor promoting personal growth. Since it has evolved into a community project. It is now about a community. Simply put, people helping people.”