First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Shark River Hills Elementary School

Press Release

(Pictured Above L to R: Superintendent of Neptune Schools Dr. Crader, Grant Recipient Stephanie Huff, and Principal Williams).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Shark River Hills Elementary School Pre-K teacher, Stephanie Huff, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2018-2019 school year. Ms. Huff has been an early childhood educator within Neptune Township Schools for 20 years.

Huff submitted a grant application to purchase equipment for the betterment of her students’ gross motor skills. The grant money will be used to benefit the 60 Pre-K children at Shark River Hills Elementary School for years to come. Currently, the school uses equipment from a gym cart – however there is not enough to go around and it was purchased 16 years ago. With the grant funds, Ms. Huff plans to purchase new kickballs, basketballs, foam balls, a hopscotch rug, a mesh tunnel, a bowling set, handkerchiefs and ribbons, a set of scooters, and more.

(Pictured above L to R: AVP of Business Development at First Financial, Grant Recipient Stephanie Huff, and VP of Marketing and Business Development at First Financial).

“We are required to provide our students with 45 minutes of gross motor activities each and every day.  Gross motor skills are defined as the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities,” said Huff. “In order to develop and strengthen those gross motor skills, equipment is needed to do so. Fred Rogers, beloved creator of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and dedicated child advocate, poignantly said: Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. I can personally attest to the value and worth of play in children’s learning.”

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 2018-2019 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 heart warming essays and videos from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs in their schools such as flexible seating, virtual reality glasses, book stands and shelving, new classroom cabinets, and interactive books and games – 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.

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