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How does our community change lives?

January 20, 2016

YoungScholarsChanging young lives requires a dedicated investment of time, energy, hard work, and persistence. And a big dose of faith in the ability of our community’s young people to overcome the challenges life often puts in their way.

One local not-for-profit organization is doing that hard work, and making an enormous difference in the lives of our local youth, and by translation, in our community. That organization: the Young Scholars Liberty Partnership Program.

A multi-year collaborative project established in 1993 with Utica College and the City of Utica School District, the program was designed by education professionals to motivate diverse and talented students to stay in school, earn a NYS Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation, and be college- and career-ready.

The Young Scholars Program services more than 350 students from the Utica City School District. Teachers identify and nominate at-risk youth when they are still young (sixth grade). Students who have the potential for success in secondary and post-secondary school, but who are underachieving because of various social and economic risk factors, are recommended for this program free of charge. They move into the program when they are ready, from seventh through twelfth grades.

Program goals include:

  • Maintaining an A or B average
  • Earning a NYS Regents diploma with Advanced designation
  • Completing at least 150 hours of community service
  • Enrolling in post-secondary education

First Source first became involved in this wonderful program by taking the role of Executive Dream Sponsor of the Young Scholars Grow Big Dreams Celebration Dinner, an inaugural event to celebrate the staff, students, and families involved.

Why did we decide to become involved?

  • Education is a key component of our children’s success, and the success of our community.
  • First Source is an educational financial institution at our core. Our roots are based in education (we started as the Utica Teachers Federal Credit Union in 1938).
  • Education is a big part of the value we provide to our Members and community! For example, we don’t just lend money; we explain why a particular loan is the best fit, and what you can do to help keep your credit in good standing.
  • We love that the program is run through a college, but is actually helping high school students. It touches on both secondary and higher education, and focuses on local kids, nurturing their potential, and helping them to achieve success.
  • Our involvement will only keep growing over time, as the success of this investment in our children is paying off in big ways for them, their families, and Central New York.

Do you want to make a concrete difference in the lives of others? Then please join us in contributing whatever you can to this wonderful program. To donate now, please go to the donation page on the Young Scholars website. Your assistance helps raise awareness of the program, and funds its important work (the average cost is $1,500/student). Thank you!

Posted in: Blog, Posts

LMV Day 6: Stay Healthy

January 14, 2016

After a nice holiday break, we jumped into Healthcare/Health & Wellness Day. I enjoyed this day quite a bit. It held my attention, and had a nice mix of presentation and interaction.

From a healthcare standpoint, we learned about the changing landscape, where primary and specialty care has been, and where our healthcare leaders see them progressing: really looking at a full continuity of care versus single silos, all to help alleviate repeat visits and streamline care. It was interesting to see all the moving parts of hospitals, providers, and of course, insurance, and how all of these will have to work and grow together while still providing service. A good way to describe it is the old adage, “trying to fix the plane while flying it.”

This was an interesting parallel, and offered some insight to me personally with initiatives I’m involved in at work. I like it when the day’s content is personally relevant. We’re in the midst of implementing some new technology and processes, but we can’t stop serving our Members today as we make changes for tomorrow.

Our Leadership module was, “Challenging the Process”. The focus was on how to be a critical thinker. How do you create change while being sensitive to all involved? How do you stay open-minded and willing to try that new path? There’s always a better way. The decision that worked best the last time may not be the best decision to carry you forward. Circumstances are always changing, and you have to be willing to try new ideas and stay agile. This hit home for me, as I am being challenged more with planning and designing the future, questioning what we offer, and discussing better ways to deliver our services. I have the opportunity to put these ideas and skills to use, while not losing my pragmatism, and striving to maintain balance as changes are made.

In the Wellness section, we learned about small things we could do in the workplace to help with well-being; even our posture, or the time we spend standing versus sitting. We ended up having a wonderful dialog with one presenter, completely moving away from the presentation, but with everyone participating in the discussion, which I really enjoyed.

We also had a great lesson regarding generational psychology. It was very interesting to see what past generations have experienced, why they parented the way they did, and how that in turn affects each subsequent generation. It shed some light on why some people are more independent, some are more collaborative, how people like or don’t like to solve problems, etc. It’s good knowledge to have when working with others.

As for our project, my team’s next step is a visit to the Ithaca Children’s Garden. I’m looking forward to seeing how they utilize their space, and what we can learn from them for our project.

– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager, LMV Participant

Posted in: Blog, Posts

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