First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Cedar Drive Middle School

Press Release

(Pictured above L to R: First Financial’s President/CEO and VP of Marketing and Business Development, Grant recipient Mrs. Sara Campbell, Middle school student Harry Strack, and Mrs. Lori Press).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Colts Neck’s Cedar Drive Middle School handicap teacher, Sara Campbell, was recently surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $416.77 Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2019-2020 school year. Mrs. Campbell has been an elementary school teacher for 14 years, and recently began teaching students with developmental and intellectual disabilities at the middle school level.

Campbell submitted a grant application to purchase equipment for the school’s Colts Cafe. The grant money will be used to continue to change the culture of the school – one snack at a time, through service and vocational skills. Using an old technology cart, a small group of Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Lori Press’ students started selling snacks and coffee to teachers at the school. This went over so well with the teachers, the idea was suggested to also begin selling snacks to students at the school. The classroom grant awarded will go toward purchasing commercial quality popcorn machines, popcorn, scoops, popcorn seasoning, and popcorn distribution bags.

“When we began to sell coffee and treats to the teachers, our students gained self-confidence and found a place in a community where they had been living on the outskirts,” said Campbell. “They became of service, they found a purpose. And a community found something they didn’t know they were missing.”

(Pictured above L to R: Cedar Drive Middle School Principal Mr. Colin Rigby, Mrs. Sara Campbell, student Harry Strack, and Mrs. Lori Press).

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 seven (7) classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2019-2020 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,” said First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that the Foundation committee had a tough job of choosing just seven winning teachers out of the numerous applications received this year. “We received double the amount of classroom grant entries this year, which included heartwarming essays and videos from educators hoping to use the grant money to implement or maintain a variety of creative programs within their schools,” said Stephan. “We wish we were able to reward each and every one of our participants, and after extremely careful consideration we selected the seven initiatives in which we felt the grant money would have the largest impact.”

2019 Classroom Grants: Call for Entries!

Calling all teachers! Does your classroom need a little help for the 2019-2020 school year? Tell us what your classroom needs are!

The First Financial Foundation will be awarding classroom grants up to $500 each this coming Fall. Grants will be awarded to Monmouth and Ocean County schools.

Grant applications will be accepted between August 1 and September 30, 2019.

To submit an entry, please email foundation@firstffcu.com no later than 11:59pm on September 30th. Your email should tell us in 500 words or less, or you can submit a Youtube video no longer than 3 minutes – letting us know how much you are requesting up to $500, and what you would use the grant for. Please be sure to include your full name, position, school name, address, a contact phone number and email. Educators may also be nominated by an administrator.

All grant recipients will be notified by the First Financial Foundation on or about October 15, 2019.

Good luck!

*To apply, email foundation@firstffcu.com and tell us in 500 words or less or submit a video no longer than 3 minutes, letting us know how much you are requesting and what you would use the grant for. Grant applicants must also submit their name, position, school name, school address, and a contact phone number and email. All applications must be received by 11:59pm on 9/30/19. The Foundation will notify grant recipients on or about 10/15/19. Educators may also be nominated by an administrator. Total funds available for 2019 classroom grants is $2,000.  Applying does not guarantee receiving a grant. Not all applicants will receive grant money. Before applying, be sure to check with your school district to see if there are any rules or requirements for applying or accepting grant money. Federally insured by NCUA.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Bradley Beach School

Press Release

(Pictured above: Bradley Beach Elementary School Principal and Superintendent Dr. Wisniewski and Alison Zylinski).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Bradley Beach Elementary School social worker and anti-bullying specialist, Alison Zylinski, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with the final Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2018-2019 school year.

Zylinski submitted a grant application to purchase supplies to create vinyl inspirational messages to promote students’ actions of kindness, respect, empowerment, and positive self-esteem on a daily basis.

“It is my responsibility to improve school climate and culture,” said Zylinski. “This year, every class in our K-8 school will engage in a 20 minute morning meeting, where the focus is to develop a sense of connection among students, work on social-emotional skills, and improve each classroom’s overall culture and climate. Creating inspirational messages would be a fantastic environmental change for our school.”

(Pictured above: First Financial’s President/CEO, First Financial’s VP of Marketing & Business Development, Alison Zylinski, and First Financial’s AVP of Business Development).

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 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.”

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Manalapan Englishtown Middle School

Press Release

(Pictured above: First Financial’s Assistant VP of Business Development, Karryne MacLean, First Financial’s VP of Marketing & Business Development, and First Financial’s President/CEO).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Manalapan Englishtown Middle School seventh grade social studies teacher, Karryne MacLean, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with an Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2018-2019 school year.

MacLean submitted a grant application to purchase the My Classroom Economy program. The program is designed to teach students financial responsibility in an engaging and fun way. My Classroom Economy will help students take part in a simulation of a real-world economic activity, learn the value of a paycheck, learn how to budget spending, pay bills, and balance bank accounts, discover the importance of saving money, and find out about paying taxes to the federal and state government.

“My students are what many middle schoolers are – always asking, Why do I need to learn this?” said MacLean. “They want to learn something they can use, something that matters. They are very bright and passionate. With this program, students will learn about economics and will take these skills with them to become successful adults. They will come to appreciate the value of a dollar and see the impact of saving and spending money wisely.”

(Pictured above: Karryne MacLean with her principal and department supervisor).

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 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.”

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Freehold Learning Center

Press Release

(Pictured above: First Financial’s Assistant VP of Business Development, Laura Dilworth, and Principal Smith with Mrs. Dilworth’s kindergarten class).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Freehold Learning Center kindergarten teacher of 12 years, Laura Dilworth, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with an Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2018-2019 school year. The Freehold Learning Center is located in Freehold Borough.

Dilworth submitted a grant application to purchase Osmo’s Explorer Kits, which would help her students to explore literacy and math in a fun and engaging way. The kits include hands on playing pieces and real world creative tools, to help the students gain knowledge in number sense, reading, vocabulary, problem solving, self expression, and more.

“I teach kindergarten in a Title 1 school, meaning that the majority of our students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch. For 2018-2019 our school received district funding to build new classrooms for Pre-K and kindergarten. This year I have a classroom with walls! In the past our classrooms had been in an open-area. My students are smart, imaginative, energetic, enthusiastic, loving and well deserving of the best education available,” said Dilworth. “I want my students to become writers, mathematicians, explorers, readers, and independent learners. The best way to ensure this is to offer them the technology and resources that neighboring districts may have. I would love my first year in a classroom with walls to include this amazing learning tool.”

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 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.”

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Land O Pines Elementary School

Press Release

(Pictured above from L to R: First Financial’s President/CEO, VP of Marketing and Business Development at First Financial, Grant Recipient Desire’e LoVoi, and First Financial’s AVP of Business Development).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Land O Pines Elementary School teacher, Desire’e LoVoi, was surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with an Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2018-2019 school year. Land O Pines School is part of the Howell Township K-8 School District.

LoVoi submitted a grant application via YouTube video, to purchase equipment for a new Book/S.T.E.A.M. Room for Pre-K through 2nd grade students at the school. S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The creative video showcased some of Mrs. LoVoi’s students and how they would benefit from the updated book room.

The YouTube video can be viewed here.

(Pictured above: Land O Pines Principal Suarez with Grant Recipient Desire’e LoVoi).

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 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.”