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

Press Release

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Pictured above: Lacey Township Middle School Teacher Kathleen Cafiero (far left) receives a check from First Financial President & CEO Issa Stephan (far right), and other members of the Foundation Committee – Graham Stevens (JFAC Managing Director), Jessica Revoir (Marketing Manager), Helga Britton (VP of Human Resources), and Megan Shull (Business Development Officer).

Lacey Township, NJ (12/13/12) – 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.

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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

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

Freehold Township, NJ (12/6/12) – 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.

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“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.”

 

The First Financial Foundation Awards 2012 Scholarships

Press Release

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Pictured left to right: First Financial Board Member Elizabeth White, Luke Pasick, Jennifer Retzer, First Financial President/CEO Issa Stephan, Taylor Van Zile, Kevin Rogers, and Jim Boyle. Not pictured, scholarship winner Michelle Cottrell.

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation awarded $750 Erma Dorrer Literary scholarships to six deserving undergraduate students in August 2012.

This year’s winners included: Jim Boyle, Manasquan, University of Notre Dame (Fall 2012); Luke Pasick, Wall Township, College of New Jersey (Fall 2012); Kevin Rogers, Ocean Township, Monmouth University (started Fall 2011); Jennifer Retzer, Manalapan, University of Pennsylvania (started Fall 2011); Taylor Van Zile, Pine Beach, Wentworth Institute of Technology (Fall 2012), and Michelle Cottrell, Manahawkin, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (Fall 2012).

This year, there were two scholarship topics.  Applicants choose to answer one of the following questions:

  1. How have the recent financial events of 2011 (Wall Street Protest and Bank Transfer Day) affected your opinion of credit unions? What is your perspective in regard to First Financial Federal Credit Union?
  2. Compare and contrast commercial banks to First Financial and the Credit Union movement.

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question of their choice, and either had to be a member of the credit union attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country, or a non-member attending a 2 or 4 year college within Monmouth or Ocean Counties, to be considered for the scholarship.

“We are delighted to assist in furthering the educational aspirations of these worthy young men and women,” 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 76 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

 

First Financial Foundation Awards Students with 2011 Scholarships

The First Financial Foundation awarded four $1,000 scholarships to students in Monmouth and Ocean Counties in August 2011.

2011 winners were Dan Kazanjian of Howell, a student at Monmouth University; Tara Iauruzio of Cranford, a student at Monmouth University; Ashley Logan of Cream Ridge, a student at Monmouth University and Kristine Blanco of Toms River, a student at Ocean County College.

The subject of the 2011 scholarship was “How does First Financial Federal Credit Union make a difference and add value to your community?” Applications answering this question were submitted via written essay (800 to 1,200 words) or video clip (3 to 7 minutes).

Since 1994, we have supported the Monmouth and Ocean County 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 and Ocean County Communities.

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Above: Photo 1: (L-R) First Financial Federal Credit Union

President/CEO Issa Stephan presents scholarship winner
Dan Kazanjian with a check.

Photo 2: (L-R) Scholarship winner Tara Iauruzio,
First Financial Federal Credit Union President/CEO Issa Stephan,
scholarship winner Kristine Blanco and winner Ashley Logan.