First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Robin Fabricatore of Toms River Intermediate North High School

Press Release

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(L to R: Toms River Board of Ed Member – Christopher Raimann, Principal at Toms River North – Lynn Fronczak, Guidance Counselor at Toms River North – Robin Fabricatore, Business Development Director at First Financial – Matthew Brazinski, and Toms River Board of Ed Member – Joe Nardini)

WALL, N.J. – Toms River Intermediate North High School guidance counselor and anti-bullying specialist, Robin Fabricatore, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Ms. Fabricatore submitted a grant application to assist with the events that are run by the Interact Club in her school – a Rotary International service club with 97 participating students. The grant money will be used to help with the group’s future community outreach efforts. They plan to purchase plastic containers for each homeroom (56 total) to collect aluminum can tabs to be donated to the Long Branch Ronald McDonald House. They also plan to purchase supplies to make holiday cards for the nursing home/homebound elderly. The club also wishes to buy a color ink cartridge to allow students to make flyers and posters brighter and more noticeable. Lastly, any money remaining will be used to purchase two large plastic containers and cellophane to make gift auction baskets for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Dr. Seuss stickers for the Read Across America event.

“Our main goals as Interact members are to make new friends, improve the community, develop leadership skills and make a difference in the world,” said Fabricatore. “Intermediate North has an awesome group of Interact students that are eager to help our community.”

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Cathy Heuser of Lanes Mill Elementary School

Press Release

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L to R: Cathy Heuser, EXCEL Teacher and Theresa Goodfellow, Assistant Vice Principal at Lanes Mill Elementary School in Brick, NJ

WALL, N.J. – Lanes Mill Elementary School EXCEL teacher, Cathy Heuser, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Mrs. Heuser submitted a grant application to purchase materials to help with environmental projects in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) classroom in her school in Brick, NJ. This would allow her to buy advanced wind experiment kits, sensors, batteries, and circuit kits so students would be able to use the gathered information about gear ratios, generators, polarity, and vertical axis to create alternate designs for wind turbines.

“With the speed of technology growing exponentially, the students of today are likely preparing for jobs and careers that do not yet exist. Therefore, it is imperative that educators take on the role of the facilitator; guiding students to develop their skills to think critically, use logical reasoning, problem solving, working cooperatively and communicating,” said Heuser. “It is my intention to use the award to help my students realize their personal strengths and use those strengths to teach them how to be lifelong learners. By investing in the S.T.E.M. classroom today, we are investing in our students’ future.”

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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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.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Mary Pat Kochenash of Upper Freehold Regional School District

Press Release

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Pictured Above: Mary Pat Kochenash of Upper Freehold Regional School District

WALL, N.J. – Upper Freehold Regional School District occupational therapist, Mary Pat Kochenash, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Ms. Kochenash submitted a grant application to purchase pencil grips for each student in pre-K through second grades, in her school. Pencil grips run about $10 for 6 grips and help students hold a pencil in the dynamic tripod grasp writing method, taught within the school. The classroom academic climate has accelerated and children are now asked to write at the age of three, when they are not typically developmentally ready until the age of six. As a result, children are coming into school significantly weaker in postural, upper body, and grasp strength – and because of this modern educational paradox, children have lost the traditional tripod grasp to hold a pencil or pen.

“This grasp is used to maneuver a writing instrument efficiently and smoothly across the paper.  It saves time and energy while writing and is a highly developed hand skill,” said Kochenash. “Children today use a much weaker, far less mobile grasp with a hyperextended thumb to compensate for hand weakness.” She noted that a classroom grant from the First Financial Foundation would help her students immensely.

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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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.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Laurie Peters of Bayville Elementary School

Press Release

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(L to R): Michael Conforti, Assistant Principal of Bayville Elementary School, Grant recipient and teacher, Laurie Peters and Steven Rieder, Principal of Bayville Elementary School

WALL, N.J. – Bayville Elementary School Basic Skills Teacher, Laurie Peters, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Mrs. Peters submitted a grant application to purchase additional resources to be used in the classroom and at home to support struggling students in the areas of reading, phonics, writing, and math.  Specifically, she wished to purchase leveled readers for students to borrow in order to read on their level at home, as well as alphabet and number strips to practice letter and number recognition. She also hoped to be able to buy basic supplies such as cardstock and glue, to create multi-sensory materials that the district cannot fund.

“I would use the grant money to create hands-on learning experiences for the students of Bayville Elementary School,” said Peters. “This approach will successfully incorporate students in the learning process as well as make it an enjoyable and beneficial time for both the students and myself.”

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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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.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Jennifer Suralik Quintenz of Pinelands Regional Junior High School

Press Release

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Pictured Above: Jennifer Suralik Quintenz, Basic Skills/Intervention Specialist of Pinelands Regional Junior High School

WALL, N.J. – Pinelands Regional Junior High School Basic Skills/Intervention Specialist, Jennifer Suralik Quintenz, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Ms. Quintenz submitted a YouTube video grant submission to continue the Thanksgiving celebration she’s coordinated in her school for the last 10 years. This holiday tradition was originally a student-only Thanksgiving breakfast, but immediately following Hurricane Sandy it was modified into a feast extended to the families of the students who may have lost their homes or were misplaced due to the storm, and were unable to otherwise celebrate the holiday. With the increase of family members and tripling costs, it is difficult for the school to sustain three years later – the grant money would be used to subside the monetary gap.

“After growing up in Tuckerton for 38 years and now teaching in the same community, I can only hope to help the less fortunate and bring parents and students together for a thankful feast each year, despite any circumstances,” said Quintenz.

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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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.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Elizabeth Oliva of Monmouth Regional High School

Press Release

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Pictured Above: Elizabeth Oliva, French Teacher at Monmouth Regional High School

Wall, N.J. – Monmouth Regional High School French teacher, Elizabeth Oliva, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 classroom grant for the 2015-2016 school year.

Ms. Oliva submitted a grant application to purchase digital voice recorders for the Spanish, French, Latin, and English classes in her school. The voice recorders will be used as a tool to provide feedback and constructive criticism to the students’ speaking abilities, as well as assess them for a grade based on their ability to discuss a particular topic. Both students and teachers will benefit from the recorders in order to utilize them in the classroom and also at home.

“These voice recorders would allow students to have more opportunities speaking the language, as well as the ability to hear their pronunciation and annunciation,” said Oliva. “Our goal is to enable our students to communicate in the global world in which we live, to be excited by the differences around the world, and to experience these cultures.”

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 six (6) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we’re delighted to be able 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 tough job of choosing just six winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received dozens of heartening essays from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as purchasing basic skills materials for struggling students, funding a thanksgiving feast for the less fortunate, integrating digital voice recorders for students to practice second languages, new tables for a classroom, iPads, updated software, and pencil grips for students in pre-K through 2nd grade – to name a few,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the six classrooms in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

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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.