Gene's Note: Helping Students Find Purpose

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet our newest group of Student Branch Tellers. These new Student Tellers will spend a portion of their summer preparing to work at their individual high school’s branch in the fall. Rogue currently operates six high school student branches throughout Southern Oregon, and has one campus branch located at Southern Oregon University. I am always so impressed by the quality of the young people that join us as student tellers and the value they provide to the credit union.

When I meet our student tellers for the first time, I like to share some of the values that were instilled early in my credit union career. I learned that working for a credit union is much more than cashing a check or taking a deposit- it is about making a difference for those that you serve. Our student branch program provides Rogue with the opportunity to help students learn that success goes well beyond being a good employee. We work to provide a learning experience that focuses on building skills that will benefit them in their future endeavors, and the communities they serve.

A key element of that learning experience comes from the development of a community service activity within each student branch. Through a service focused learning activity, students learn about a key aspect of the credit union difference-giving back to the communities we serve. Each branch has their own unique project that ranges from service based projects to fundraisers for local charities. They select, plan, and execute their community service activities for a well-rounded learning experience.

As I discussed the value of service to others with our new Student Tellers, I told them about one of the programs we support called Sparrow Clubs. This charity exemplifies the amazing things that can be achieved when young people come together to help others, like our student tellers will be doing this year. They teach children the life lessons of compassion and selflessness by empowering them to help raise funds and provide emotional support for children and their families in medical need.

This past school year, Wilson Elementary students participated in an “Acts of Kindness” campaign for their fellow students and their adopted Sparrow. These elementary students set a goal of completing 256 acts of kindness over the school year in honor of their Sparrow. By the end of the year, they surpassed their goal and ended up completing 1,160 acts of kindness! The Sparrow Club story is repeated at grade schools, junior highs, and high schools throughout our community. By supporting this program it is just another way for Rogue to highlight that together, we are better. Whether it is a grade school student or a Rogue student teller, it is never too soon to build an understanding of the power we have when we join together for good.

At Rogue, we are so lucky to be part of a movement that is bigger than simply providing financial services to our members. Being a part of the credit union movement gives us the opportunity to strengthen our communities. As these students prepare to start the school year, they too will become part of a movement known for building a better community through helping people.

Please join me in welcoming our newest student tellers to the Rogue Credit Union family and to the opportunity of being part of something bigger!