Libro Credit Union

Firehorse Leadership Organization launching program thanks to Libro Credit Union

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Firehorse Leadership Organization will be bringing a leadership and mentorship program to area youth next year with the help of Libro Credit Union.

Firehorse was the recipient of a “Prosperity Grant” from Libro Credit Union in the amount of $21,049. The money will be utilized in Firehorse’s “Learn and Lead” program that will be rolled out early next year.

Firehorse Leadership Organization executive director Michelle Stein said they will be reaching out and look for 15-20 youth ages 14-and-over to enrol in the program.

“It’s a youth leadership program,” she explained. “It’s a ten-month commitment.”

Sarah Parks (centre) accepts a cheque for $21,049 from Libro Credit Union. The money came as part of Libro’s “Prosperity Fund” program.  (Submitted photo)

The “Learn and Lead” program will run from February through October 2019 with Stein stating it will help with career choices, financial literacy, community involvement and more. There will be sessions on one weekend per month at Sarah Parks Horsemanship, where Firehorse Leadership Organization also operates out of, as well as hours in the community where those enrolled will have to complete.

The latter could include working at events such as the Harrow Fair, Woofa-Roo Pet Festival, the Festival of Hawks or other community events. They may also work with younger students riding at Sarah Parks Horsemanship or through another Firehorse program.

“This program is unique because it involves an agricultural component,” said Stein. “It gives them an opportunity to be in an agricultural environment.”

Some students choose to pursue careers in agriculture, she noted, but others learn leadership and are able to use that as they work towards other career choices.

Stein noted that recruitment will be occurring in January through Firehorse Leadership Organization’s social media sites as well as through local schools. She said there will be an interview process but parents will be allowed to be part of that.

“We work closely with young people and their families,” said Stein.

Many students who go through their summer camps want to stay involved after they get too old for it, so the “Learn and Lead” program becomes an alternative. There will also be opportunities for bursaries at the conclusion of the program.

Miranda Desjardins riding Will, Jenna Reaume riding Runner, Brooke Demers riding King, Natalie Grondin riding Triple. The photo was taken during Parade of Breeds at Cottam Horse Festival. They are 2018 “Learn and Lead” graduates. (Submitted photo)

Students will put in anywhere from 50-300 community hours on top of the monthly sessions at the ranch, Stein noted. She said it’s not about learning to ride a horse, but more about mentoring and leadership as well as being part of a team.

There is a $200 per child entry fee to be part of the ten-month program, if accepted.

For more information, call Stein at 519-796-3929, e-mail her at mstein@wavedirect.net, visit www.firehorseleadership.com or www.facebook.com/firehorseleadership.

Sarah Parks Horsemanship is located at 7150 County Road 20.

Local credit union recognizes long-time employee

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a celebration 20 years in the making for a local credit union employee.

Tracy Policella celebrated two decades at Libro Credit Union March 12 with staff, customers and special guests dropping by. The financial services representative was surprised yet happy with the turnout.

“It’s awesome,” said Policella. “It’s been great. These are some great people that I am working with.”

Policella noted she has been through a couple of mergers during her employment with the company. She started when it was known as Woodslee Credit Union and the mergers saw it be known as United Communities Credit Union and now Libro Credit Union. She added that she has worked with “a lot of awesome people” during her time there.

Tracy Policella (second from left) was honoured recently for her 20 years of service with Libro Credit Union. Also pictured are Josephine Grant, branch manager Nika Laurin and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

In addition to praising the people she works with, Policella also spoke highly of the customers at the branch. A big highlight of her 20-year career, which is ongoing, are “the people I get to meet.”

Policella said she knew her co-workers had plans to commemorate her 20-year anniversary but was surprised by how far they went. Mayor Aldo DiCarlo also stopped by to wish Policella well.

“I didn’t know the extent that it was going to be,” Policella said of the celebration.

The celebration was a reflection of how her co-workers feel about Policella as well, indicated branch manager Nika Laurin.

“We love her too,” said Laurin.

Essex County Federation of Agriculture receives $5,000 through Libro’s “Prosperity Fund”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Representatives from Libro Credit Union were busy recently as the regional credit union was handing out grants under its annual “Prosperity Fund” program.

One of the Essex-Kent recipients was the Essex County Federation of Agriculture (ECFA), which received a $5,000 grant to assist them digitize their “Buy Local” map and provide online content about producers and growers throughout the growing season.

Anne Anger, secretary/treasurer with ECFA, said they just finished the fifth edition of their “Buy Local” map with president Lyle Hall noting the map is produced every two years. Anger pointed out their partnership with Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) is “instrumental” in helping ECFA promote local agriculture.

The ECFA representatives were also grateful to Libro Credit Union for giving them a grant under the “Prosperity Fund.”

“The Prosperity Fund will help us expand into social media,” Anger added.

The Essex County Federation of Agriculture received a $5,000 grant from Libro Credit Union to boost its “Buy Local” campaign.

Lynnette Bain, vice president of tourism programs and development with TWEPI, said material will be posted at www.weheartlocal.ca and the funds from Libro will enhance the site and allow blogs and stories about local producers. Not only do they plan on publishing stories on growers during the season, Bain indicated they also plan on putting more recipes on the site featuring products grown in Essex County. There is an attempt being made to target a younger demographic, she added.

“This is very new and very exciting,” added Anger.

Libro’s annual granting program invested $460,000 in 2017 to support programs and projects across southwestern Ontario that are helping to grow prosperity in three focus areas – regional economic development, youth leadership and money-smarts

“Libro’s focus is on growing prosperity in southwestern Ontario, and we invest 100% of our profits right back into the communities we serve,” said Stephen Bolton, Libro Credit Union head coach, President and CEO stated in a press release. “These grant recipients demonstrate there is so much more to prosperity that simply saving money. The diversity of their initiatives will open new paths to success across our region and I’m excited to watch these projects unfold.”

The Libro Prosperity Fund invested in 30 organizations and community groups whose initiatives support entrepreneurship, financial knowledge and career skill development for young people – all aimed at growing prosperity across the region.

“Our focus on growing prosperity means knowing the needs of each community we serve,” Bolton said. “Each of our 31 branches has a council made up of owner representatives who participate in the grant evaluation process and have a voice in the award selection. We believe decisions should reflect the priorities of our owners and the participation of our owner representatives provides a valued perspective.”

Other recipients in the Essex-Kent region were the Libro Social Innovators program at the University of Windsor ($89,140), the TechBoost Program at Windsor Hackforge ($30,850), the Developing Young Leaders Mentorship Employment Project at Access County Community Support Services in Kingsville ($18,581), the Volunteer Homework & Mentorship Program at the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Foundation’s Leamington location ($9,150), Youth Outdoor Leadership Initiatives at Natural Pathways Learning Centre in Harrow ($6,400), youth development and leadership programs at the Chatham-Kent 4-H Association ($5,000) and the EcoKids program at the LaSalle Hangout for Youth ($5,000).

Family fun, backpacks, school supplies dished out by ACS

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Roughly 100 children are ready for school and had a little fun getting their supplies thanks to Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

ACS held its fifth annual Family Fun Day & Backpack Giveaway event at their office, located at 179 Victoria St. S. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said additional sponsorships helped secure more things for families to do.

“This year is really good. We are happy with the Rotary Club for sponsoring us again this year and we’ve also added Libro Credit Union as a new sponsor.”

Alex Greason and his new bird friend stopped by the Zoo to You exhibit that was part of ACS’ Family Fun Day & Backpack Giveaway Aug. 20.

Alex Greason and his new bird friend stopped by the Zoo to You exhibit that was part of ACS’ Family Fun Day & Backpack Giveaway Aug. 20.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg donated $2,000 towards the event while Libro donated an additional $500.

Despite a slight dip in the number of children who received backpacks this year, DiBartolomeo said there are still a lot of people who need assistance.

“The need is still there,” she said.

While ACS still wants to ensure young students are prepared for going back to school, the Family Fun Day component also allows them to have fun and see what the Amherstburg community offers from a recreational standpoint. In addition to face painting and an obstacle course, children got to check out what Sarah Parks Horsemanship, Yun Hap Martial Arts, Amherstburg’s Fighting Island Boxing Club, the House youth centre and Zoo to You have to offer.

“The focus is to introduce kids to local recreational opportunities and to spend time as a family,” said DiBartolomeo. “We want to get kids healthy and active and give families a day to come together.”

ACS received donations from Libro Credit Union and the Rotary Club which helped present the event. Libro donated $500 and the Rotary Club donated $2,000. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (centre) stands with Libro branch manager Cathy Thomas and Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George-Jurilj.

ACS received donations from Libro Credit Union and the Rotary Club which helped present the event. Libro donated $500 and the Rotary Club donated $2,000. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (centre) stands with Libro branch manager Cathy Thomas and Amherstburg Rotary Club president Laura George-Jurilj.

Children’s health was also touched during last Saturday’s event as well as Embrace Hygiene was also on hand giving dental checks.

In addition to the two major sponsors, Amherstburg Community Services was also pleased with the other organizations, businesses and individuals that made donations to this year’s Family Fun Day & Backpack Giveaway event.

“We were very pleased this year that the community has stepped up to help this program,” said DiBartolomeo.

Villanova students experience poverty with aid of United Way simulation

 

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School students swarm one of the stations used as part of an anti-poverty simulation last Friday morning. The simulation was presented in conjunction with United Way and Libro Credit Union and allowed students to experience what it is like living on a low income.

St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School students swarm one of the stations used as part of an anti-poverty simulation last Friday morning. The simulation was presented in conjunction with United Way and Libro Credit Union and allowed students to experience what it is like living on a low income.

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Students at St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School got a chance to feel poverty thanks to the school’s social justice club and United Way.

United Way brought its “Living on the Edge” poverty simulation to Villanova Friday morning with students being able to participate. Eighty students were able to sign up and take part in the simulation, with the object being to give students a “glimpse into the realities and complexities of living on a low income.”

Leslie Frattaroli, United Way’s manager of training and consulting, said United Way purchased a poverty simulation and the exercise at Villanova was the first time it had been brought into a school. While the simulation was to educate students on what people on low incomes experience, it was also to make them more sensitive to their struggles.

“It was the social justice club who spearheaded wanting to bring it to their school,” said Frattaroli. “The social justice club focused on issues relating to poverty.”

Students went through four 18-minute “weeks” in which they had to deal with paying bills, paying rent, buying food, finding work, dealing with unforeseen issues and other simulated scenarios.

Frattaroli said United Way’s “Cost of Poverty” study shows that over 66,000 people in Windsor-Essex County live in poverty, which translates into one in five people and one in four children.

The presenting sponsor of the simulation was Libro Credit Union, with regional manager Jennifer Dawson explaining they are trying to partner with community groups as part of their prosperity project.

“Living on the Edge provides a simulation experience to better understand some of the realities and complexities low income individuals and families face,” said Dawson. “It helps shed light on bigger issues our community faces and starts a dialogue on how we may work together to create positive change. By sharing ideas and brainstorming solutions, we can certainly inspire each other to help make a difference.”

Maddie Diab (left), president of St. Thomas of Villanova's social justice club, gives an interview to fellow students about the poverty simulation the school was doing in conjunction with United Way Windsor-Essex County.

Maddie Diab (left), president of St. Thomas of Villanova’s social justice club, gives an interview to fellow students about the poverty simulation the school was doing in conjunction with United Way Windsor-Essex County.

United Way volunteer Lisa Raffoul pointed out the energy the students had during the simulation. She believed the exercise will also help United Way in its learning on the issues and noted “we are continuing to learn.”
Maddie Diab, president of Villanova’s social justice club, noted the school has participated with United Way in the past and wanted to keep doing so. She said there was an 80-student limit for the simulation with the school’s student council and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) also represented.

Diab believes it is very important to learn about poverty, as fellow students may have issues with poverty and it is important to understand their issues so they can be helped.

“It’s not so easy to solve them,” she said of issues relating to poverty.

The students learned a lot, Diab added, and that they have a better appreciation for the frustrations those with low incomes experience.