Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this March 2015

family-baking-300x200Hang in there! Spring is almost here and we’re just as excited as you are to be able to finally get outside and break free of hibernation. As always, we’ve come up with a list of free or inexpensive activities that you and your family and friends can enjoy in a town near you.

St. Patrick’s Day Parades:

Wednesday, March 4: This is your chance to see if a pottery class is right for you! Bring your friends or family members to the Pottery Open House at the Thompson Park Creative Arts Center (Lincroft) where you will sample some hand building techniques and try your luck at the potter’s wheel. This free event will take place from 4pm-8pm and is open to ages 7 and up, those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 732-842-4000.

Saturday, March 7: Let it go with Elsa, Anna, Olaf and more at the Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank) with the Sing-Along Version of Frozen! Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Get your tickets today – showtimes at 11am, 2:30pm and 5pm. For more information, call 732-842-9000.

Sunday, March 8: Head on down to the Bradley Beach Library for the 10th Annual Art Exhibit and Wine Tasting Event! You can see beautiful artwork, sample wines and treats, enjoy music from the Festive Flutes and chat with your neighbors from 2pm-4pm. For more information, call 732-869-1020.

Enjoy the tastes of the shore at the 7th Annual Belmar Restaurant Tour! The event will take place from noon to 4:30pm – tickets can be purchased in advance for just $30.00 at Brandl, Mr. Shrimp & 10th Ave. Burrito. Tickets will be $35.00 the day of event at Brandl located at 703 Belmar Plaza. Click the link above for the full list of participating restaurants. For more information, call 732-681-3700.

It’s Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 8 – don’t forget to turn those clocks ahead at 2:00am!

Friday, March 13: Celebrate the luck of the Irish at The Nerd’s St. Patrick’s Day Party presented by NJ 101.5! The event will be held at iPlay America (Freehold) and is open to those 21 and older only. Tickets start at just $10 and you’ll enjoy contests, prizes and so much more! For more information, call 732-577-8200.

Wednesday, March 18-Thursday, March 19: It’s Irish Week at the Flavor of Freehold Event! Come out and experience some of Downtown Freehold’s most loved restaurants and shops. The event will take place from 5:30pm-8pm and tickets are just $10.00 per person (cash only). For more information, call 732-333-0094.

Sunday, March 22: Make Red Bank your ultimate destination for all things wedding at the 2015 Red Bank Wedding Walk. Find your photographer, choose your ring, smell your roses, get fitted for your dress and enjoy a tasting at one of their award winning venues. The one-day event is a free and introduces brides, grooms, partners, wedding attendants and their families to Red Bank as the one-stop shopping destination for weddings. Several grand prize packages will be raffled at the conclusion of the Wedding Walk. For more information, call 732-842-4244.

Head on over to Bradley Beach, for their 2015 Restaurant Tour! Enjoy delicious tastings from restaurants all over town from 11am-3pm presented by the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Borough of Bradley Beach. Tickets are being sold at Borough Hall, D’Arcy’s, and The Ground Round. For more information, call 732-776-2999.

Sunday, March 29: Enjoy rides and fun while you hunt for Easter eggs at the Keansburg Amusement Park’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt! The event is rain or shine at will take place at 1pm. For more information, call 732-495-1400.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Spring! 

First Financial Honored with 2014 CUNA Diamond Award and SIAA Awards for Outstanding Marketing Achievements

Press Release

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Pictured above: First Financial’s Marketing Director Jessica Revoir (L) and E-Marketing Specialist Nicole Andretta (R) with the credit union’s recent CUNA Diamond Award and SIAA Awards.

First Financial Federal Credit Union was recently honored with an “Industry’s Best” Diamond Award in electronic marketing for their new member onboarding PURL (personalized URL) campaign called Welcome2First.

The award was administered by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council, a national network comprised of over 1,100 credit union marketing and business development professionals.  Awards are given in each of 29 categories ranging from advertising to community events and beyond.

“The Diamond Award competition is the most prestigious competition for excellence in marketing and business development in the credit union industry,” said Michelle Hunter, Chair of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, and SVP of Marketing & Development at Credit Union of Southern California. “Credit unions that receive these awards should be extremely proud of their accomplishments and know that their work represents the very best examples of creativity, innovation, relevance, and execution. The Diamond Awards are not easily earned and the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council is proud to honor those who are deserving of this recognition.”

In addition, First Financial was also awarded with two Silver Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) – for their First Scoop blog and new identity theft protection products, as well as a Bronze Award for their new employee onboarding video.

Founded in 2003, SIAA is the only advertising awards program to specifically recognize the achievements of the service industry. Many other advertising awards feature consumer goods, packaged goods and other tangible products. The SIAA specifically recognizes the creativity and communication accomplishments of the service industry.

Nearly 2,000 entries were received in this year’s SIAA competition. A national panel of judges reviewed each entry for execution, creativity, quality, consumer appeal and overall breakthrough content.

First Financial also worked with Source4 business and marketing solutions in Parsippany, NJ; Grey Sky Films in Rockaway, NJ; and M2 The Agency in The Woodlands, TX on the above award-winning marketing projects.

Calcubot Auto Loan Calculator – Try it Today!

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Found your dream car but unsure if you can afford the monthly payments? Looking for great rates on auto loans but can’t seem to find the right financial institution?

You’ve come to the right place, because with our new Auto Calcubot Loan Calculator app on our Facebook page, you can enter a vehicle price, down payment, and term and the calculator will provide you with a sample corresponding First Financial auto loan rate.* Then with just one click, voilà, your monthly payments are calculated for you and the best part is you can save your results, get advice from family and friends, apply for an auto loan online or set up alerts to see when our auto loan rates change! The application runs through Facebook, however you do not need to be logged in or even have a Facebook account to use the calculator.

So go ahead and try it out – we’ll bet you’ll be surprised how easy and cool the new Calcubot app is!

*Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR. Credit Union Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey.

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.”

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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.

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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.