First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to the Alpha School

Press Release

(L to R: First Financial’s AVP of Business Development, Grant recipient Ms. Sara Stockton, First Financial’s VP of Marketing and President/CEO).

FREEHOLD, N.J. – Alpha School special education teacher, Sara Stockton, was recently surprised by members of the First Financial Foundation with a $500 Erma Dorrer classroom grant for the 2019-2020 school year. The Alpha School exists to assist special needs students ranging in age from 5 to 21, and has offered educational, therapeutic, and support services to its students since 1980. The school is located in Jackson, NJ.

Ms. Stockton submitted a grant application which included an informative video – to purchase a break box, seven foot tepee, and sensory tool kit for her classroom that consists of six male students ages 10 to 13.

“One of the biggest goals of mine is to have the boys be self-advocates and to ask for breaks when they need it,” said Stockton. “A lot of them have sensory issues and have trouble dealing with the day to day structure. I believe in manipulating their environment and having something right in front of them that they can remember to ask for, a place where they feel comfortable and safe.”

Never give up on anybody or anything … miracles happen every day.

(L to R: First Financial’s AVP of Business Development, Grant recipient Ms. Sara Stockton, Alpha School Principal Mr. John Gonzalez, and First Financial’s President/CEO).

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,” noted 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.”