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

Press Release


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.”


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s