Cooperation is a brilliant concept.
Fifty years ago, in 1968, a small group of blue-collar workers right here in St. Louis started a cooperative to begin saving and borrowing together. District 837 Credit Union was born from an idea that if we can find a better way to work together, we can accomplish great things.
This year, we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary with 50 Small Acts of Cooperation, a program where we’re recognizing members, employees, and local nonprofits that are making a difference in our communities each day. We’re going to help by committing to 50 Acts of Cooperation in 2018. Some of those acts might include volunteering our time to serve alongside a nonprofit, collecting school supplies, handing out free coffee, buying gas, or surprising a member with a small financial gift to lend a helping hand.
We firmly believe that small acts of service can bring about big change. For our families, for our employees and for our community.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
ACT #1: David W., 1st Financial Member
David, a 1st Financial member since 1990, was nominated because of the work that he does to help the homeless in St. Louis. We wanted to help David to continue the strong work that he’s doing to help others. Watch David’s story now.
ACT #2: Shontrice and Markevion
Shontrice and Markevion were nominated for our #50ActsofCooperation to have their car repaired and safe for use as they continue with their personal and professional development with Connections to Success. We were so honored to cooperate with one of our favorite nonprofits in St. Louis to help this young family get back on their feet.
ACT #3: Michelle G., 1st Financial Member
Michelle, a 1st Financial Member since 2013, was nominated for one of our 50 Acts to help ease the burden of the mounting medical bills from her breast cancer treatments. We’re honored to help make this family’s life a little bit easier.
A letter from Michelle:
Breast cancer, something so many women (1 in 8) are diagnosed with. It seems so common, yet few people realize how many different types there are. 111 women die each day from breast cancer.
When I was told that I had a form of breast cancer that less than 1% of women face, it scared me and left me facing a road ahead I never thought I would have to.
I was diagnosed with triple negative metaplastic breast cancer. We had just bought our first home and moved in. Two days later I have surgery to get a port so I can start chemo the next week. I am 39. I have kids and grandkids that I want to see grow up!
I went through chemo for six months. I was pumped full of poison that’s trying to kill the cancer, but it kills everything. Surgery removed the remainder of the tumor. Then I went on to heal for four weeks before starting radiation. I went through 37 radiation treatments, every week Monday thru Friday.
At the end, of being burned from the inside out, I thought this was behind me. Surely, after all that, I would fall into the category of the 35% of women who don’t have a reoccurrence.
Four months later, it was follow up time. After the exam, I was moved to another room for second imaging. I knew then that something was wrong. Two days later and another procedure left me waiting for the results.
I already knew it was back. So it began again. I thought, “alright, the same treatment. It worked before let’s do it again.” No! Now I must have a mastectomy followed by chemo.
I had a massive surgery followed by six weeks of rest, and then chemo. The chemo is stronger and the doctors are hopeful that this will stop it from coming back, that it kills all the little cancer cells in my bloodstream and that it doesn’t spread.
This experience has helped me to learn to lean on others, that even strangers can be the one thing that touches your life that day. They can be the one thing that stops you from caving and giving in.
I am so blessed by this act of kindness and cooperation from 1st Financial. Having to rely on help from others is hard, but there comes a time where you have to have faith that someone is going to be there to pick you up.
My credit union has been helpful with allowing us to skip pay when we had no other choice and now to present us a gift to help us means so much. I am so glad that so many years ago we found 1st Financial FCU and are proud to be a member of the team!
ACT #4: Connections to Success
As part of our #50ActsofCooperation, 1st Financial is serving our community partners. This week, we served at Connections to Success where our volunteers assisted with organizing the Dress for Success Boutique and sorting donation items.
Connections to Success said, “We were THRILLED to have the 1st Financial ladies volunteer with us! They’ve been coming for a few years now and it’s always a blessing to see how willing they are to serve and give back. Thank you for helping us break the cycle of poverty by providing hope, resources and a plan!”
Cooperation is serving the communities that we live and work in!
ACT #5: Anew Nature
This week, we’re honored to cooperate with Anew Nature by purchasing new safety equipment for their interns. Anew Nature Owners Robert and Erica Karleskint are on a mission to give a second chance to marginalized men in the St. Louis area. Through Anew Nature, the Karleskints provide internship opportunities to men participating in Mission: St. Louis’ Beyond Jobs program. Although their interns come from a variety of backgrounds, Robert says he specifically requests ex-convicts. “I want Anew Nature to be a landing pad, where interns can immediately begin work after they graduate while we help them network into a GREAT job,” said Robert. Keep up the great work in our communities!
ACT #6: City of Wentzville
Cooperation is serving the communities that we live and work in! This week we were honored to serve the City of Wentzville employees and First Responders at the new City Hall which happens to be located right by our Wentzville Branch location. We had a great time surprising them with coffee and donuts in appreciation for all that they do for our communities. Welcome to the neighborhood!
ACT #7: Mama Cat & PotBangerz, 1st Financial Member
Community is everything. 1st Financial member Mama Cat, through her not for profit PotBangerz – Feed the Body Mission, is building community daily through their mission to feed and provide shelter for St. Louis’ unhoused community. In the words of Mama Cat, “We are not exempt from being unhoused. I didn’t think I could be and then I was. If we take everybody with us, we can go so much further. None of us are as good as ALL of us.” Well said, Mama Cat. Well said. We’re honored that you are a 1st Financial member and proud to be your community partner.
ACT #8: Workforce Development
As part of our #50ActsofCooperation, we participated in a recent Mock Interview Day. We were so honored to help the participants practice their job interview skills. Workforce development programs like Connections to Success help members of our community get one step closer to financial stability!
ACT #9: Melissa S, 1st Financial Member
Today we were happy to present Act #9 of our #50ActsOfCooperation to 1st Financial member Melissa for her strong community work. Melissa along with her nephew Steven have been providing care packages to the unhoused community since 2015 through their local organization “Praying Hands”. We were honored to help meet the community’s needs by providing 100 hats and gloves and a gift card to go towards their efforts. #CUDifference #OurMembersAretheBest #StrongWork
ACT #10: Scott H., 1st Financial Member
Today we’re celebrating 1st Financial member Scott. Scott was nominated for the hard work that he’s been doing to get back on his feet and we were happy help ease his financial burdens with a small gift. We’re honored to be a part of Scott’s journey and to care for people, not just with products and services, but also with heart. Keep up the hard work, Scott. We know you’re going to do great things.
#50Actsfor50Years #WeLoveOurMembers #OurStaffRocks
ACT #11: Lauren
Lauren was nominated for our #50ActsofCooperation to help with the costs of attending the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Pathways to STEM, an envision program to be held at Loyola University in Chicago, IL this summer. This program will give Lauren the opportunity to take engage in intensive, engaging, hands-on workshops focused on five skills that are essential to success: communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and goal setting. She will also have the opportunity to explore a future career in engineering, medicine, and detective work. We’re so honored to cooperate with Lauren to further her education.
ACT #12: Volunteering at Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School
We recently had the pleasure of volunteering at Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School with Mad City Money Financial Reality Simulation as part of our #50ActsOfCooperation. Our staff helped to run a realistic, hands-on financial simulation that provided realistic examples of the financial decisions that the students would have to make in the future and to deal with the economic consequences of their decisions.
Cooperation is serving the communities that we live and work in!
ACT #13: Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis
Credit unions solely exist to help people, not to make a profit. We’re here to serve our members and the community well, in good times and in times of crisis. More than 2,000 families call the Ronald McDonald House of St. Louis their home away from home each year as their children receive medical treatment. We’re honored to cooperate with the Ronald McDonald House because of their community impact. Thank you for letting us into your home and for keeping families close when they need it the most. Find out how you can help at www.rmhcstl.com
ACT #14: Books N Bros, 1st Financial Member
At 11 years old, 1st Financial member, Sidney Keys III, started the Books n Bros Book Club in Ferguson. Through our Act of Cooperation program, we were able to help sponsor Carmine’s Books N Bros membership for one year. Keep up the great work Sidney! You’re changing the world one book at a time and we’re proud that you’re a 1st Financial member. For more information about Books N Bros visit www.booksnbros.com.
ACT #15: Kai S., 1st Financial Member
Kai, a youth member at 1st Financial, was recently nominated for one of our 50 Acts of Cooperation so that he could attend a summer youth camp. His nominator said this about Kai and the camp, “The camp experience would help him grow and guide him to be the leader that is beginning to emerge. I know this will help him get started in the right direction.”
Good luck, Kai! We’re so happy that we could be a part of your journey.
ACT #16: Community Day at Red Oak Biscuit & Brunch House
Its #50ActsFriday and in case you missed it, Act #16 of our #50ActsofCooperation was a FREE coffee day at Red Oak Biscuit and Brunch House yesterday. We successfully served the community of Downtown St. Louis with free coffee and biscuits. Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday! This is what community looks like.
ACT #17: Eric B., 1st Financial Member
This week’s Act is all about fighting for a cause. Our St. Charles branch honored 1st Financial member Eric B. and his family by making a donation to Friends of Kids with Cancer in memory of their late son, Cole. Credit unions solely exist to help people, not to make a profit. We’re honored to be able to be a part of this family’s journey and to help make a difference in the communities that we serve.
ACT #18: Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Volunteer Day
It’s #50ActsFriday and this Act is all about the importance of volunteering in our communities. This week, our 50 Acts crew volunteered at Habitat for Humanity St. Charles ReStore where they helped move furniture and organize the store. Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis has two locations that are open to the public featuring new and gently used home improvement products and building materials. The ReStore is dedicated to reusing and repurposing donated goods and diverting items from landfills in order to lessen our impact on the environment. #TeamWork #Volunteerism
ACT #19: TEAM Food Pantry
Our Hazelwood branch nominated TEAM Food Pantry for Act #19 of our #50ActsOfCooperation. Our Hazelwood branch has been collecting donations and purchased items to help serve residents in need in Hazelwood and Florissant through TEAM. TEAM is a volunteer organization providing supplemental food and basic household items to needy families in our communities and we’re proud to assist them in their efforts. Thank you, TEAM!
ACT #20: Jawonna B., 1st Financial Member
This week we’re proud to help Jawonna, a 1st Financial member since 2016. Jawonna and her family have suffered through some hardships and are going through some financially tough times. She wants others to know that “it’s ok to ask for help and that there is always someone out there who understands what you are going through”. That’s so very true and we were so happy to be able to help ease the financial burdens for Jawonna and her family.
ACT #21: Team St. Louis
Local not for profit, Team St. Louis is a girls basketball club that focuses on the enrichment of young female athletes both on and off the court. We are proud to sponsor these young ladies and assist with donating to their passion for the game. Good luck ladies we are rooting for you!
ACT #22: $50 SURPRISE for our 50th Members!
We love happy surprises and this week each of our branches got to surprise the 50th member to come into the branch that day with $50. Congratulations Kenneth, Mattie, Willie, and Sarah. We so appreciate your membership!
ACT #23: Little Bits Foundation Supply Drive
Team 1st Financial took a trip to The Little Bit Foundation this week and we were able to donate more than 150 pairs of kids socks and underwear!
The Little Bit Foundation is an army of supporters giving, serving and advocating for at-risk children in St. Louis. We’re so honored to be their partner and we’re happy that we were able to help provide students with their everyday needs. We know how important it is to remove barriers to education. Keep up the strong work in our community!
ACT #24: The Child Center Sponsorship
Our HR and Compliance teams nominated The Child Center, Inc. for Act #24 of our #50ActsOfCooperation. We are honored to team up and support your mission of responding to child abuse to reduce trauma to children and their families. Also, thank you for giving us a tour of your facility and sharing your service dog, Oakley Maue, with us as well! #CommunityImpact #TeamWork
ACT #25: Every Little Bit Helps
At 1st Financial we understand that every little bit helps and that is why we partnered with The Little Bit Foundation to make a difference in the community. Volunteering is just one of the ways that we can help make an impact and our 1st Financial team was happy to get the chance to volunteer with them.
The Little Bit Foundation is a non-profit that supports the whole child – mind, body, and spirit – so that they can focus on their education. Keep up the great work you’re doing for the kids in our community!
ACT #26: KSDK On-Air Surprise
This week we’re living out our mission of people helping people by giving back local nonprofit PotBangerz – Feed the Body Mission, and helping with their mission to provide the needed essentials for St. Louis’ unhoused community. In honor of our 50th anniversary, 1st Financial surprised Mama Cat with 50 donated cases of water and Gatorade live on the air of KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis show. #CommunityImpact
ACT #27: Mike’s Story
Veterans are more likely than civilians to experience homelessness. Mike, a 4th generation military man, used to be homeless, but with a little help, he’s getting back on his feet again. We are proud to work with our community partners at Employment Connection of St. Louis to help Mike. This fall, Mike looks forward to beginning his new role as a Peer Support Specialist at the St. Louis VA Hospital so that he can help other veterans get back on track. #ThisIsWhatCommunityLooksLike #PeopleHelpingPeople
ACT #28: Education Exchange Corps Sponsorship
We are honored to support the Education Exchange Corps Summer Leadership Academy which is a free academic program that helps kids develop leadership, teamwork, and academic skills. Thank you for all that you do for our community and for empowering every child to take on our world’s greatest challenges. #TeamWork #StrongCommunityPresence
ACT #29: St. Paul Saturdays
Happy #50ActsFriday! This week we’re honored to support local non-profit St. Paul Saturdays. Their leadership program has a 100% high school graduation rate with 100% of their high school graduates going on to attend college. Director Jay Rhodes said, “We are so excited to be selected and we would like to thank everyone at 1st Financial for your kindness and acknowledgment.” Thank you, Jay, for all that you and your program do for the young men in our community. #50ActsOfCooperation #Leadership #Community #Education
ACT #30: Terry, 1st Financial Member
Our Downtown branch nominated 1st Financial member Terry who is also known as the Brown Bag Lady for an Act Of Cooperation. Terry has a mission of feeding the homeless by giving away her brown bags that contain a sandwich, fruit and a bottle of water. We are proud to partner up with Terry to help those who need it most. #PeopleHelpingPeople #CUDifference
ACT #31: 1st Financial Team Volunteer Day
Team 1st Financial took a trip to the Family Arena to assist the St Charles City-County Library Foundation with their Friends of the Library Book Fair. All of the money raised goes directly to the district to provide literacy and educational programs and services with the majority of our funds benefiting Children’s and Teen initiatives. #50ActsOfCooperation #StrongCommunityWork #Partnership #Education
ACT #32: National Dog Day BarkBox Contest
This week is all about our furry friends! For #NationalDogDay we gave away a 6-month BarkBox subscription to one lucky dog! Congratulations Cindy and her pretty puppy Nova! Check out all of our adorable entries on our Facebook page. #50ActsofCooperation #WeLoveDogsToo
ACT #33: Back to School Shopping Spree
Because we know how important an education is we recently sponsored a 50 Acts of Cooperation Back to School Shopping Spree. We’re happy to announce that Jaydn was our winner. Good luck in school this year, Jadyn. We wish you all the best!
ACT #34: Tony, Kicking Homelessness to the Curb
We’re recognizing Tony, a senior at St. Dominic High School. Tony recently organized a charity soccer game which raised $2,000 for the homeless through Peter & Paul Community Services. Great work, Tony! We’re so inspired by Tony’s actions that we’re making a donation to Peter and Paul Community Services on behalf of Kicking Homelessness to the Curb as well as giving Tony a $100 college scholarship. #50ActsOfCooperation #EveryLittleBitHelps #StongCommunityWork
ACT #35: Disney On Ice Contest
For our young members, we gave away a family four pack to the Disney On Ice “Dare to Dream” show on Saturday, September 22 at 3:00 pm at the Chaifetz Arena. Lauren said that her dream was for her kids to grow up happy and know that anything is possible if they put their mind and heart into it! Thank you, Lauren! Enjoy the show!
ACT #36: Surprising Hazelwood Shoppers
ACT #37: KidSmart Volunteer Day
ACT #38: Junior Achievement
This week our volunteer team had the pleasure of serving as role models at the Career Exploration Fair with Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, Inc. We had the opportunity to brighten the young minds of hundreds of middle and high schoolers by sharing some of our employee’s career experiences with our local youth.
ACT #39: Kensley’s Princess Brigade Walk for JDRF
Kensley has type 1 diabetes and her dad tells us, “She refuses to let this disease define who she is. She is a fighter and is a brave soul to take on the battle that chose her!”
Kensley, we’re honored to be part of your mission to find a cure and we were so happy to be able to support your Princess Brigade at last weekend’s JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) walk in St. Louis.
How can you help?
- Follow our progress each week on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #50ActsofCooperation
- Tell your friends and family about this great program.
- Nominate a person or local organization by filling out the online form below.
- Volunteer with us. There will be volunteer opportunities throughout the year that will be posted on our calendar and announced on our social media sites.
We believe that small things, small towns, and small organizations can make a big impact when people work together. Join us.