First Financial Hosts Student Run LIFE Fair at Jackson High Schools

Press Release

(Pictured above: First Financial staff members and students from the Jackson Academy of Business teach fellow students about the financial realities of life on June 2nd at Jackson Memorial High School).

Freehold, N.J. – On May 24th and June 2nd, First Financial Federal Credit Union held the first student run LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair event at both Jackson Liberty and Memorial High Schools with their Jackson Academy of Business (JAB) students. While the credit union has hosted financial reality fairs in the past, this fair was actually staffed by high school students, who sat behind each of the financial tables and worked with other students to help plan their financial future. Approximately 160 students at each school participated in this hands-on version of the “game of life,” during which they were required to make on-the-spot financial decisions.

The LIFE™ Fair consists of a full day hands-on experience where students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Once the students visit all the booths, they balance their budget and sit down with a financial counselor to review their expenses and get a “financial reality check.” At the student run fairs, First Financial staff members worked at the financial review tables with each of the participating students to provide insight.

In regard to the school’s experience with their first ever student run LIFE™ Fair, Laurie Shupin, Jackson Liberty teacher and the high school’s JAB coordinator stated, “The students felt it was an excellent learning experience and became more knowledgeable of the subject matter as the day progressed.  They are looking forward to more presentations and would love to extend it to the fall and spring semesters.” Laura Fecak, Jackson Memorial teacher and JAB coordinator stated, “The LIFE Fair was a great opportunity for all of our students involved.  It was an eye opening experience for the Financial Literacy students that came through to get a dose of reality, connecting classroom concepts to real life situations.  As well as, for the Jackson Academy of Business students that got to act as the sales representatives in a variety of situations (housing, transportation, technology, furniture, etc.).”

While the LIFE™ Fair was certainly full of temptations, the students had to spend their money wisely while being able to save and budget themselves for the future – while also enjoying everything life has to offer. First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan, concluded, “Our mission for our first student run LIFE™ Fair was to help the students understand the value of money and how to manage their money, so as they grow as an adult they’ll become more financially responsible. The student run fair was able to show the high school students even more about the financial realities of the real world. Our credit union puts a high priority on financial education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 81 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

(Pictured above: Jackson Liberty LIFE Fair).

Additional photos from the event can be seen on First Financial’s Facebook page. To inquire about or set-up a LIFE™ Fair for a Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ school or business – please contact the Business Development Department at 732.312.1421, 732.312.1426, or email


August 2017 Blood Drive and Shred Event

Blood Drive (9am-1pm, Corporate Headquarters Parking Lot – Front)

Join the fight to save a life! First Financial will be holding its first ever Blood Drive with the Central Jersey Blood Center on Saturday, August 5th from 9am-1pm in the parking lot of our Corporate Headquarters in Freehold/Howell.

Requirements for donating blood:

  • Donors must present photo or signature ID.
  • Donors must drink water and eat a full meal before donating.
  • Donors must be healthy and weigh at least 120 lbs.
  • Donors must be 16 years of age (with parental consent) or older.

For additional frequently asked questions about donating blood, medical conditions & medications which may effect blood donation, and reasons you could be turned away from donating blood – click here.

All donors will receive a coupon for a free oil change from Schwartz Mazda in Shrewsbury.

Advanced registration for blood donations is preferred.  If you would like to register to donate, please email or call 732.312.1500. When you pre-register, you will receive an email confirmation and a text message reminder prior to the Blood Drive.

Please consider joining the fight to save a life in our local Monmouth and Ocean County Community!

  • Just 1 pint of donated blood can help save as many as 3 people’s lives.
  • More than 4 million Americans would die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions.
  • Every 3 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Less than 5% of the population donates blood, yet up to 80% will need blood one day.
  • 1 out of every 10 people entering the hospital needs blood.
  • Your blood donation could help a heart surgery patient with red blood cells and platelets, a car accident victim, or a severe burn victim.

Shred Event (9am-12pm, Corporate Headquarters Parking Lot – Rear)

Also on August 5th in our Corporate Headquarters parking lot in Freehold/Howell, we will be holding a free shred event that is open to the public.


  • Mixed office paper
  • Papers with staples or paperclips
  • Papers with small binder clips or rubber bands


  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Hardcover books and 3-ring binders
  • X-rays and MRIs
  • Wet, damp or mildewed paper

*There is a limit of 5 boxes/bags per person. 100% of the material will be recycled. Shred Event is open to the public. If the shred truck reaches 9,500 lbs. of paper before 12pm, the shredding portion of the event may end earlier.

We hope to see you on Saturday, August 5th! If you have any questions about either event, please email or call 732.312.1500.

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this June 2017

You can smell the freshness in the air, the warmth of the sun, and the grass between your toes – it’s almost summer! This is best time of year to indulge in fun activities and take local day trips with family and friends. Check out these free or inexpensive activities and events below to start your next adventure this June.

June 3: Point Pleasant Summerfest in the Park from 11am to 7pm. Fun festival For all ages, specialty foods, food trucks, wristband rides, market vendors, expo vendors and live music all day. Free admission, and the event takes place on the corner of Bridge Avenue and Beaver Dam Road. For more information call 732.295.8850 or go to

June 3 & 4: Keyport Garden Walk from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy a free self-guided walking and biking tour of the public and private gardens in historic Keyport at Keyport Waterfront Park on American Legion Drive. For more information call 732.687.9519 or visit

June 8: Bayshore Greek Festival begins at 6pm in Holmdel at 20 Hillcrest Road. Free shuttles will be available from St. Benedict’s parking lot as well. For details call 732.739.1515 or go to

June 10: Early Summer Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall) from 8am-3pm. Hunt for hidden treasures amid furniture, books, art work, bottles, knick knacks, and so much more! $5 admission per vehicle. Click here for details or call 732.919.3500.

National Marina Day at Leonardo State Marina on Concord Avenue from 10am-3pm. Craft vendors, food trucks, face painting, cake, & more! Details at or call 732.291.1333.

June 11: Irish Festival at Monmouth Park (Oceanport) from 11:30am-5pm. Start your day with a traditional Irish mass at 11am in the first floor of the grandstand.  Follow that with a fun-filled day of live thoroughbred racing, Irish step dancing, crafters, food, a pipe and drum competition, two human horse races and so much more! Music from the Emerald Isle and authentic Irish step dancing will be performed at three different stages all afternoon long. Click here for details or call 732.222.5100.

June 17 & 18: Food Trucks & Fire Pits at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Food trucks, fire pits and fireworks (on Saturday evening)! Visit for all details or call 609.758.8000. Cost is $8 per person and kids 12 and under are free.

June 18: Father’s Day at Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach, 800 Ocean Terrace (Seaside Heights). Bring your Dad to Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach for Father’s Day! Dads Ride or Slide FREE with a paying child. Call 732.793.6488 or go to to learn more.

June 21: Free Summer Film Series – Jaws at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank) 7pm. For details call 732.224.8778, ext.132 or go to

June 24: Summer Craft Market, Ice Cream and Art in the Park at Allaire Village (Wall) from 8am-5pm. Craft shows at the Historic Village at Allaire showcase local artists as they sell and demonstrate their crafts.  The craft market includes handmade items of all varieties from paintings and photography to pottery, woodworking, textiles, and beyond.  Admission to the craft market is $5 per vehicle. For more information click here or call 732.919.3500.

June 24 & 25: Bradley Beach Lobster Festival at 11am. Come enjoy great food, crafts, and vendors. Enjoy the beach, boardwalk and businesses too! Saturday 11am – 8pm and Sunday 11am – 6pm. For details call 732.869.1020 or go to

We hope everyone has an enjoyable summer!


First Financial Foundation 2017 Call for Scholarship Entries

This year, our non-profit organization — the First Financial Foundation — will be awarding (4) $500 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarships to high school seniors within Monmouth and Ocean Counties attending a 2 or 4 year college or university in the Fall of 2017. Applicants must apply on or before 11:59pm on Friday, June 23, 2017.*

This year, the First Financial Foundation has decided to provide two different topics for students to choose from, to apply for a scholarship in the form of a written essay or a short video. You may choose to apply by submitting either the essay OR the video.


Essay Topic: You and a friend decide that you would like to start building credit. Discuss with your friend what good credit is, ways to start building credit, how your credit union can help, and the benefits earned by having good credit.

Please note: Essays should be no longer than three pages, 11 point font, typed and double spaced.
Video Topic: Create a 60-second video that covers the importance of financial literacy.


Please note: Video clips should be recorded and uploaded to YouTube prior to applying, and no more than 60 seconds in length. 


 Qualifications and other important information:
  • Four $500 scholarships will be awarded to four graduating high school seniors from any high school within Monmouth or Ocean Counties who will attend (Fall 2017 Semester) a 2 or 4 year college anywhere within the country. The student must be a graduating high school senior from the class of 2017. The student must be a First Financial member as of 12/31/16 in order to receive the $500 scholarship. The scholarship will be directly deposited into the student’s First Financial account only. No printed checks will be awarded, and deposits will not be made into a relative, parent or guardian’s account.
  • 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.
  • To apply, please email the essay or the link to your YouTube video to the First Financial Foundation at, 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 2017, membership number and date of membership, where you will be attending college in the Fall 2017 Semester, and any volunteer work you participate in.
Winners will be announced and notified via email by 5pm on June 30, 2017
Deadline for entry submission is 11:59pm on Friday, June 23rd.


Good Luck – creativity is encouraged!


Please note: 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 are not eligible to apply for the Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship.

Our Spring 2017 Newsletter is Here!

Our Spring Semi-Annual Member Newsletter has arrived! In a continued effort to go green, we’re publishing our newsletter electronically – it can also be found on our website and social media sites. Paper copies will also be available in our branches. This Spring First Edition newsletter covers some great new topics and talks about some of the exciting events and promotions going on at First Financial for the beginning of 2017.

The Spring Newsletter features the following articles:

  • Upcoming First Financial seminars and events (May – August 2017)
  • Article – “4 Fastest Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt”
  • Message from the CEO
  • Visa Prepaid Reloadable Cards
  • IRC Article – “Retiring with an Age Difference”
  • Foundation Sponsors Career Day Program at South Toms River Elementary
  • 150 NJ Motorists Amazed by Free Gas
  • Article – “3 Steps to Take Before Seeking Preapproval for a Mortgage”
  • Important information, holidays, phone numbers, and branch locations

 To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.

Enjoy and Happy Spring!

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this May 2017

We can finally enjoy the Spring sun! Don’t forget to take advantage of our local parks and enjoy a bike ride, a hike, play basketball or even a have a family picnic this month. It’s a free, fun and a great way to stay active and get some fresh air at the same time. And, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th so don’t forget to appreciate Mom! Check out some more free or inexpensive activities below that you can enjoy this month with your family and friends.

May 6: Late Spring Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall) from 8am to 3pm. $1 admission for adults, children under 12 get in free. Hunt for hidden treasures amid books, art work, knick knacks, and so much more! The Historic Village, General Store, and Bakery will be open as well. For information click here or call 732.919.3500.

“Truck”erton Food Truck and Brew Fest (Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum) from 11am-6pm. Get a taste of what is coming this year with food trucks, craft brews and live music. Help settle the great debate in the Garden State as food trucks from North and South Jersey battle it out.  $10 admission.  Seaport members and kids under five are free. Food prices are set by individual food tuck vendors. To learn more call               609.296.8868 or visit

First Financial Car Sale at Automotive Avenues in Wall Township from 9am-4pm. Take advantage of this one day special offer, your first month’s interest payment is on us!* For more details, click here or call 732.312.1500 Option 4.

May 7: The Jersey Four – A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Monmouth County Library Headquarters (Manalapan) at 2pm. Entrance doors open at 12:30pm. For more information, click here or call 732.431.7220.

May 9: A Night Out for Local Businesses (Asbury Park Brewery) from 6:30-8:30pm. For $10 (must be paid in advance through PayPal) join First Financial for a tour of the brewery, get a flight of beer, network, and receive information packed marketing tips to bring back to your business. For more details, click here or call 732.312.1500.

May 13: Spring Craft Fair and Art in the Park at Allaire Village (Wall), from 10am-4pm. Come shop a wide selection of handmade crafts and items from jewelry to woodworking, ceramics, sculpture and everything in between. This is the perfect place to shop for Mom or anyone else special in your life. Rain date is May 14th. For information click here or call 732.919.3500.

May 14: Memories of Frank – Celebrating 100 Years of Sinatra at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank) at 4pm.  To purchase tickets, click here or call 732.842.9000.

Moms ride free at Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach all day for Mother’s Day (Seaside Heights). At 12 noon, flowers will be distributed along the boardwalk by the Borough of Seaside Heights Mayor and Council. Go to or call 732.830.3700 for more information.

May 19-21: Belmar Seafood Festival – Silver Lake Park (Fifth and Ocean Avenues). One of the largest seafood festivals in the nation. Great seafood, crafters, and live entertainment. Sponsored by the Belmar Tourism Commission. For details call 732.681.3700 ext.214 or click here.

May 20: Spring Lake Irish Festival from 12-5pm on Third and Morris Avenues.  There will be Irish step dancers, a beer and wine garden, an Irish soda bread contest, photo booth, petting zoo, kids’ activities, and more!  For details, click here or call 732.449.0577.

NJ State Salsa and Chili Cookoff (Toms River) from 11am-5pm on Washington Street between Hooper Ave and Main St. NJ’s original and hottest cook-off! International Chili Society – sanctioned State competition. Come out and taste the best chili on the street. Vote for your favorite People’s Choice Chili & Salsa. Live entertainment, food & merchandise vendors, beer & wine garden! Free admission & free parking. Tasting kit (to taste the people’s choice chili & salsa) $7.00. Call 732.341.8738 or go to to learn more.

Bayshore’s First Food Truck and Craft Beer Fest (Keansburg), Baywalk East at the corner of Beachway and Main Street from 2-8pm. Free admission, live music all day, craft beer tasting, food sampling, up to 500 cars park free and then a shuttle service will be available.  Click here for information or call 732.787.0215.

May 27-29: Bradley Beach Memorial Day Weekend Celebration from 9am-7pm. Festival on the boardwalk for the weekend and oceanfront parade on 5/27 at 10am. Click here to learn more or call 732.776.2999.

Jersey Shore Foodtruck Festival at Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) from 11:30am-5pm. There will be food trucks and live music! Learn more here or call 732.222.5100.

Have a great month!

*Financing for qualified First Financial Federal Credit Union members. Not all buyers will qualify. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and is subject to credit approval. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opeing any other account/loan, see credit union for details. First Financial will make an additional principle payment equivalent to your first month’s interest payment within 30 days after receiving the title with the perfected lien showing First Financial as the lien holder. No minimum or maximum payment. Federally insured by NCUA.