Tag Archives: UMe Cares

Thank-A-Soldier Event Once Again Very Successful

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Last Saturday, volunteers as well as Veterans gathered in the UMe Parking Lot to put together boxes to be shipped to soldiers during the Thank-A-Soldier Event that had been started by Keller Williams and now hosted by UMe Credit Union as part of their UMe Cares outreach since 2016.

According to Joyce Starleaf of Keller Williams, “Thank a Soldier event began 9 years ago at Keller Williams Burbank.  We were located at 401 S. First Street, Burbank at the time and we had a huge lot to hold the event.  The original idea of the event was conceived by our manager at the time, Paul Sessum. He and I , Barry Gussow and Karen Volpei-Gussow were the original 4 musketeers eventually joined by many of the agents and staff at the office.

For this event, we held 3 fundraisers as it is an expensive endeavor.  Each box costs about $18 to mail and of course, we need lots of items for each box.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“Paul Sessum decided that he would like us to do something for the servicemen and women, continued Starleaf,  “For me, it was an easy decision and mine was based in part on my brother in law who served in Vietnam and as you probably know, they were treated poorly on their return and felt extremely unappreciated.  We started the event with just 100 boxes packed and we were thrilled.  It went up from there-250-then 400 and is now at about 1000 boxes.  We work in conjunction with Burbank’s Hands Across the Battlefield which is headed by Mickey DePalo.  He acts as an advisory capacity and works at  the event with us along with the people on his committee.”

DePalo has been a driving force behind the veteran group in Burbank, serving on the City of Burbank’s Veterans Committee and has been working on the revamping of the Memorial at McCambridge Park that will be ready for this year’s Veteran’s Day Celebration.

“Thank-a-Soldier packed over 935 boxes to be shipped overseas to the men and women who are defending our freedoms.” Depalo shared on a Facebook post, “Thanks to all the great people at Keller-Williams for their dedication and commitment and to all of our Burbank residents, ranging in age from kindergarten through senior adults for coming out and being a great help in packing and showing why Burbank is indeed a wonderful community! Rest assured, the Burbank Veterans Committee and Keller-Williams will mail each and every package early enough so that packages will arrive at our troops before Christmas!!”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Anita Hutchinson of the UMe Credit Union was more than happy to donate the use of their parking lot for the assembly of the boxes. ” I worked the end of the assembly line, putting letters to soldiers (written by kids and community members) and photos from the event in each box before they were taped up — and thanking each person for participating — it was such a rewarding experience!

There were people of all ages there working together to put together thoughtful care packages that our deployed troops will receive during the holidays. Some veterans who were working the event as well as creating boxes told me that they, themselves, had received care packages when they were deployed, and told me how meaningful it was to have tastes from home.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Starleaf was quick to praise UMe Credit Union and their members, “Once our building was sold on 1st street in 2016, we needed a place to hold our event. One of us spoke to Ume and they volunteered their lot immediately.  They have been very supportive.  We have access to their backroom two days before the event where we sort all of the product that is donated.  They also have bins in their lobby where they ask their members to contribute items and they a monetary contribution.”

All of the care packages will be shipped to Burbank residents serving their country.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

According to Starleaf there are many sponsors who donate during the year to make this happen including the Cusumano Family, The City of Burbank, Quixote Rentals, HouseAmerica Financial Services, Noon Rotary, First Trust Escrow, Vault Mortgage, Aldrich/Taylor Insurance, Handy Market, Tony’s Darts Away, Gain Credit Union and Flappers Comedy Club.

Starleaf added, “The event this year had many more volunteers than in previous years which made the workload much lighter. This is really a community event and there are many individuals who donate every year and volunteer every year.”

Thank-A-Soldier Care Package Assembly Party

We’re pleased to partner with our friends at Keller Williams for the 9th Annual Thank-A-Soldier Care Package Project! Now through October 18th, you can drop off new personal supplies, non-perishable snacks, or entertainment items (books, magazines, DVDs, etc.) right here in our lobby. Just look for the big red bins when you walk in our doors.

Then, this Saturday, October 19th, join us in our parking lot for the big Thank-A-Soldier Care Package Assembly Party. There will be FREE food, live music, and fun activities from 10am – 2pm.

With your help and support, we were able to assemble over 1,000 boxes last year — and we are aiming for even more this time around! Every box will give our men and woman overseas a reminder of home and serve as a Thank You for their dedication and sacrifice.

Thank you all in advance for all your help and support, it really goes a long way. For a list of suggested donation items and more information, click here.

Wishing you the best,
Team UMe

UMe Credit Union Gives Teens a “Bite of Reality”

Receiving training at Burbank (Photo Courtesy UMe Credit Union)

On May 3 UMe Credit Union wrapped up their UMe Bite of Reality event at Burroughs High School in order to help teens make financial decisions and give them a better understanding of the challenges of living on a budget. UMe first tested the event out earlier this year in February at Burbank High School for a group of National Academy of Finance students and proceeded to introduce it to Burroughs after it’s huge success.

Receiving training at Burroughs (Photo By Betty Blossom)

The Bite of Reality program is created for Credit Unions by the RMJ Foundation and is a hands-on simulation app that gives teens a taste of real-world financial realities. The students were each assigned a fictional persona complete with an occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. The students then walked around to various table-top stations to “purchase” housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care, and other needs. Most importantly, the simulation includes a “credit union” table to help the students with their financial needs, guiding them on how to budget and successfully navigate finances in the real world.

Photo By Betty Blossom

At the transportation table, students dealt with a pushy “car salesperson” that encouraged them to choose brand new vehicles versus a used car or bus pass while over at the housing table a commission-based “realtor” sold them on the biggest house with the most rooms. There was even a “Fickle Finger of Fate” that gave students unexpected “expenses” or “windfalls” just like in real life. The students soon learned to weigh their wants versus their needs.

“Now that we know that the students enjoy the event, and even more important, learn something, our goal is to make it a regular event at both high schools,” said UMe Credit Union CMO & Vice President of Marketing, Anita Hutchinson, who helped organize and bring the events to both of Burbank’s high schools. “One of the students told me: ‘Thank you, this really opened my eyes about a lot of things I had no idea about!’ This fits in with where we started. Our credit union was founded by a couple of Burbank teachers back in 1940. We operated out of a teacher’s desk drawer for years, eventually moving to a teacher’s house so people could access their money after school hours,” added Hutchinson. UMe Credit Union bought their first building on Magnolia Blvd. in 1969 and have continuously showed their support for the Burbank community and school district.

Receiving training at Burroughs (Photo By Betty Blossom)

According to a WalletLiterarcy Survey by WalletHub, California ranks near the bottom of all the states in “Financial Knowledge and Education.”  “Most of the students who participated in our simulation were shocked by what it costs to survive in the real world: cars, cell phones, utilities, personal care-all normal, everyday expenses that need to be budgeted for,” says Hutchinson.  The students provided positive feedback regarding the program and many students commented that they learned something new. UMe Credit Union’s goal for the program is to get our Burbank students to rise to the top of the ranking, making sure they’re prepared for real life beyond high school and college. “If we can give them a good knowledge base, we can help ensure that they avoid stress and enter adulthood more prepared for success!” adds Hutchinson. Surveys shows that students report feeling the least prepared to tackle their finances and are particularly stressed about it.  The good news is that as financial knowledge increases, the stress over financial decision-making decreases.

Photo By Betty Blossom

According to a 2017 EverFi survey of 104,000 incoming college students, there is a general lack of financial knowledge/skills — and students are:

+ accruing high levels of student loan and credit card debt

+ displaying a poor understanding of basic financial topics

+ experiencing financial stress and anxiety

In the recap after the simulation ended, UMe asked students to share what they learned… and some of the answers were:

+ there’s a difference between wants and needs

+ kids are expensive

+ you can choose how to spend your money, don’t always take what a salesperson tells you as what’s best for you

+ ask questions

+ just because you make money doesn’t mean you will have enough to do everything you want

Receiving training at Burbank (Photo Courtesy UMe Credit Union)

Receiving training at Burroughs (Photo By Betty Blossom)