First Financial Foundation Announces Winners of 2014 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship

Press Release

DSCN0392

(L to R): 2014 scholarship winners Kimberly Rogers, Demonica Britt, Michael Perry, President/CEO Issa Stephan, and Carly Burrus.

WALL, N.J. – The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstffcu.com) recently awarded $500 scholarships to four deserving undergraduate students.

This year’s winners included: Kimberly Rogers of Ocean Township, Georgian Court University; Demonica Britt of Freehold, Seton Hall University; Michael Perry of Freehold, Boston College; and Carly Burrus of Neptune, Coastal Carolina University.

DSCN0395

Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Kimberly Rogers with Issa Stephan and her parents.

This year, there was one scholarship topic for student applicants to respond to: In today’s world, identity theft, building credit and maintaining good credit are essential elements in our financial lives.  How will you address these essential financial elements during your college years, and how will you guide your friends and family to address the above elements?  Your response should include details about how to protect yourself and what others should do to protect themselves from ID theft, as well as how you plan to build credit and maintain credit for your financial future.

DSCN0397

Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Demonica Britt with Issa Stephan and her daughters.

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/13 and about to attend for fall 2014 or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

DSCN0399

Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Michael Perry with Issa Stephan and his parents and grandmother.

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 78 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

DSCN0402 Carly Burrus Cropped

Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Carly Burrus with Issa Stephan and her mother.

View more about this year’s scholarships and the First Financial Foundation on First Financial’s website.

###

About the First Financial Foundation:

Since 1994, First Financial has supported the Monmouth & Ocean communities with the Erma Dorrer Scholarship Program. Today, that program has been extended into the First Financial Foundation to assist charitable organizations of the Monmouth & Ocean County Communities.  The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation is a non-profit working to support a variety of community programs and organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We direct 100% of your contributions to programs because all administrative expenses are paid for by First Financial Federal Credit Union.  To learn more, visit www.firstffcu.com.

Classroom Grant Winner Sincerely Thanks First Financial Foundation

Back in December 2012 we announced four $500 classroom grant winners for the 2012-2013 school year awarded by the First Financial Foundation. Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was ecstatic when we surprised her with a $500 grant to help fund her classroom needs.

Ms. Flannery submitted her grant application in order to purchase drop-proof iPad cases to protect the devices she uses to teach preschool children with special needs.

“The iPad is single handedly helping our children access a world they’ve never had access to before,” said Flannery. ”However, there’s one tiny, little glitch. Preschoolers drop things. Often, children on the autistic spectrum and children with behavior disorders throw things, and they are not able to differentiate between the cost of a stuffed dinosaur and a $500 iPad. The drop-proof cases will help protect our equipment and ensure our children have access to the world at their fingertips.”

Brick EEC Grant Money Put to Use

Pictured above: Sally Flannery (far right) along with the other teachers of Brick Educational Enrichment Center.

Recently, Ms. Flannery contacted us with a sincere testimonial, “Recently, a student accidentally dropped one of the iPads.  If it didn’t have the protective case the First Financial Foundation funded, it would have been ruined. This was the first accident, and I’m sure they’ll be many more to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at the Educational Enrichment Center.”

Knowing that the small things we do can help make a difference in someone’s life is the foundation we built our institution on and we will continue to build upon this value to help and support our surrounding communities.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Environmental Science Teacher of Central Regional HS

Bayville, NJ — Central Regional H.S. Environmental Science Teacher Jen Haines, a resident of Waretown, NJ, was very excited when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Haines’ supervisor, Louise Pesci, submitted a grant application on her behalf to support Haines’ ongoing efforts to conduct hands on, environmental projects that excite the students and promote transferable learning.

Pesci wrote in to the First Financial Foundation, “Ten years ago, our seventh-grade science students took part in a rain basin project, which since that time, has filtered out pollutants to the ground water and stopped non-point source pollutants from entering into our two on site storm basins. These basins empty out into the Barnegat Bay and have continued to recharge the waters entering these drains to keep our waters safe.  Students from the four classes who worked and learned about saving their environment still come back to see their handiwork, some with their own children.”

The grant money will allow Haines to expand the project to two new troubled areas on the school campus.  One area is a constantly eroding hill, and the two others are wet lands areas in front of a small storm-basin and a low lying area of land.

The grant will allow for the purchase of shovels, wet-lands plants, up-land plants and enough mulch for both project areas.  It will also allow the Science Department to invite a soil conservation specialist to come to the school and speak to the students.

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots.  That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

 

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher

Press Release

Brick Township, NJ – Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was delighted when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Flannery submitted a grant application to purchase drop-proof iPad cases to protect the devices she uses to teach preschool children with special needs.

“The iPad is single handedly helping our children access a world they’ve never had access to before,” said Flannery. ”However, there’s one tiny, little glitch. Preschoolers drop things. Often, children on the autistic spectrum and children with behavior disorders throw things, and they are not able to differentiate between the cost of a stuffed dinosaur and a $500 iPad. The drop-proof cases will help protect our equipment and ensure our children have access to the world at their fingertips.”

IMG_0190

Pictured above left to right: Principal Kathleen DiGrigoli, Issa Stephan, Sally Flannery, and Walter Hrycenko.

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots.  That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

 

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Lacey Township Middle School Teacher

Press Release

Lacey Township, NJ – Lacey Township Middle School Teacher Kathleen Cafiero, a resident of Forked River, was delighted when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

IMG_0201%20KC%20edited

Ms. Cafiero submitted a grant application to benefit a select group of students who were placed in a new program for autistic children and in need of material that would optimize their learning potential. She suggested that the use of laptops would greatly assist these autistic students to a better understanding of how education is best suited to their specific needs.

“This use of technology would allow our students to direct and monitor their own learning and allow our teachers to assess their individual progress,” said Cafiero.  “A student whether they have special needs or not, should have control over parts of their education.”

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots.  That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

 

 

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Freehold Township High School Teacher

Press Release

IMG_0211

Pictured above: Freehold Township High School Teacher, Laura Vannauker (right) receives a check from First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Freehold Township, NJ – Freehold Township High School Animal Science Teacher Laura Vannauker, a resident of New Egypt, was delighted when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Vannauker submitted a grant application to purchase supplies for the pets kept in her classroom as part of the Animal and Botanical Sciences Academy at the school.  Specifically, the grant money will help to care for Bucky the rabbit and Bear the ferret (pictured below along with two students).  Both animals were donated to the class and require constant care and feeding.  Part of the grant money will be used to build a hutch so they can both live comfortably.

IMG_0214

“I would also like to spend part of the grant money on an egg incubator,” said Vannauker.   ”We have hatched eggs in the past and it is always a highlight of the year for the students!”

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots. That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

“Education remains a guiding principal for our organization, and we’re delighted to help our local educators enhance their classroom experience,” noted First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that the Foundation committee had a difficult job of choosing just four winning teachers out of the numerous outstanding applications it received this year. “We received dozens of heartwarming essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement a variety of creative programs in their schools such as anti-bullying and character education, building a greenhouse on school grounds, integrating iPads, iPods, and laptops for educational use, and starting a classroom library to motivate and inspire students to read – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we could have rewarded each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the four classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”