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.

First Financial Foundation Offers Classroom Grants to Local Educators

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To submit an entry, please email foundation@firstffcu.com no later than 11:59pm on October 30th. All grant recipients will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on our about November 13th, 2015.

Good Luck!

*To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at foundation@firstffcu.com by 11:59pm on 10/30/15. Please be sure to include your name, position, school name, school address, school phone number and email address so we can contact the grant recipients. The six (6) winners will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on or about 11/13/15.

First Financial Foundation – 2015 Call for Scholarship Entries

Happy group of studentsThis year, our non-profit organization the First Financial Foundation – will be awarding (4) $500 scholarships to high school seniors who apply on or before 11:59pm on July 3, 2015 for its Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship. The Foundation will begin accepting entries on Monday, June 8, 2015.

Based on membership feedback, the Foundation Committee has realigned this year’s scholarship requirements and all 4 scholarships will be given to high school seniors, who have been accepted to a 2 or 4 year college and will be attending in the Fall of 2015.

Applicants must answer the following two-part question to qualify (the questions can be answered via written essay or short YouTube video clip):

What is the best piece of financial advice you ever received and why? Who gave you the advice, and how are you using it currently or to shape your financial future?

Applicants can submit either a written essay or video clip to answer the question. Essays should be no longer than two pages, double spaced in 11 point font. Video clips should be recorded and uploaded to YouTube prior to applying, and no more than 2 minutes in length. Creativity is encouraged!

To qualify:

  • Two $500 scholarships will be awarded to two First Financial members (must be a member as of December 31, 2014) who will attend (Fall 2015 Semester) a 2 or 4 year college anywhere within the country.  The student must also be a graduating high school senior from the class of 2015. *Selected recipients of the scholarship will receive the scholarship via a deposit into their First Financial account. No printed checks will be awarded.
  • Two additional $500 scholarships will be awarded to two graduating high school seniors from within the Freehold Regional High School District (Howell, Freehold Township, Freehold Boro, Colts Neck, Manalapan, or Marlboro High School), who will attend (Fall 2015 Semester) a 2 or 4 year college anywhere within the country.  The student must also be a graduating high school senior from the class of 2015. *The student does not have to be a First Financial member to apply for the scholarship, however in order to receive the $500 scholarship – the student will need to open a First Financial membership and should they be selected as a recipient of the scholarship, it will be directly deposited into their First Financial account only. No printed checks will be awarded.
  • Students accepted to trade or technical schools will not qualify for this scholarship.
  • A valid copy of either a college acceptance letter, student schedule, or registration confirmation must accompany all applications.

Winners will be announced and notified via email by 5pm on July 24, 2015.

Deadline for entry submission is 11:59pm on Friday, July 3rd.

*To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at foundation@firstffcu.com, or you may send a printed copy of your essay or flash drive (these will not be returned to you), and supporting documentation to the First Financial Foundation at PO Box 1172, Toms River NJ 08754.  Please be sure to list your contact information on your entry including your full name, address, phone, email, name & location of high school you graduated from in 2015, membership number and date of membership (if applicable), where you will be attending college in the Fall 2015 Semester, any volunteer work you participate in, and a valid copy of either a college acceptance letter, student schedule, or registration confirmation to a 2 or 4 year college. 

**Children or relatives of First Financial employees or members of the Board of Directors, or those living within the same household as a First Financial employee or Board Member – are not eligible to apply for the Erma Dorrer Scholarship.

Good Luck!

First Financial Foundation Announces Winners of 2014 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship

Press Release

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(L to R): 2014 scholarship winners Kimberly Rogers, Demonica Britt, Michael Perry, President/CEO Issa Stephan, and Carly Burrus.

WALL, N.J. – The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstffcu.com) recently awarded $500 scholarships to four deserving undergraduate students.

This year’s winners included: Kimberly Rogers of Ocean Township, Georgian Court University; Demonica Britt of Freehold, Seton Hall University; Michael Perry of Freehold, Boston College; and Carly Burrus of Neptune, Coastal Carolina University.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Kimberly Rogers with Issa Stephan and her parents.

This year, there was one scholarship topic for student applicants to respond to: In today’s world, identity theft, building credit and maintaining good credit are essential elements in our financial lives.  How will you address these essential financial elements during your college years, and how will you guide your friends and family to address the above elements?  Your response should include details about how to protect yourself and what others should do to protect themselves from ID theft, as well as how you plan to build credit and maintain credit for your financial future.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Demonica Britt with Issa Stephan and her daughters.

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/13 and about to attend for fall 2014 or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Michael Perry with Issa Stephan and his parents and grandmother.

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright students in their journey of success and education,” 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 78 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Carly Burrus with Issa Stephan and her mother.

View more about this year’s scholarships and the First Financial Foundation on First Financial’s website.

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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.

Classroom Grant Winner Sincerely Thanks First Financial Foundation

Back in December 2012 we announced four $500 classroom grant winners for the 2012-2013 school year awarded by the First Financial Foundation. Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was ecstatic when we surprised her with a $500 grant to help fund her classroom needs.

Ms. Flannery submitted her grant application in order 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.”

Brick EEC Grant Money Put to Use

Pictured above: Sally Flannery (far right) along with the other teachers of Brick Educational Enrichment Center.

Recently, Ms. Flannery contacted us with a sincere testimonial, “Recently, a student accidentally dropped one of the iPads.  If it didn’t have the protective case the First Financial Foundation funded, it would have been ruined. This was the first accident, and I’m sure they’ll be many more to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at the Educational Enrichment Center.”

Knowing that the small things we do can help make a difference in someone’s life is the foundation we built our institution on and we will continue to build upon this value to help and support our surrounding communities.