DEs Improve Lives Everywhere on 2nd "DE Day of Service"

To celebrate the second DE Day of Service - June 14, 2017 - Credit Union Development Educators (DEs or CUDEs) across the country (and world) worked individually and collectively to complete a project to improve the lives of others.

Here are some highlights:


In Africa, DEs in Africa and the U.S. came together to help Kenyan farmers plant pineapples. Pineapples are a high cash crop.  The farmers must plant and care for the plants that were grown on their own plot of land. At harvest time, all of the farmers will pool their fruit to be delivered to the market. A better price can be obtained by selling as one lot. The profits will then be divided proportionately to the farmers after 10 % or the proceeds is deposited into their SACCO (credit union) savings account. It is a sustainable plan as each plant creates off-shoots as they grow, which provides the start of the next crop.

This is an ongoing project, kicked off last year by DEs (read about it here). At right, DEs hold pineapples planted in 2016.


DE Leah Friedenberg organized a group of ten Pima Federal Credit Union team members for a Beads of Courage volunteer event. This local non-profit uses colorful beads to empower seriously ill children along their treatment journey.

Beads of Courage gives seriously ill children tangible symbols of milestones and procedures they have overcome. They're locally based, and provide this resources for international hospitals as well, which ties in beautifully with the CUDE message of local and global community.

Additionally, last week, Leah presented information on the CUDE program at a local youth networking session and facilitated an exercise regarding world development issues. Sharing information on the impact of the CUDE program builds excitement in our young professionals.

Landings CU collected cases of water bottles since May and delivered over 15,000 bottles to community non-profits on the DE Day of Service. The water will be distributed to those in need as temperatures near 120 degrees next week. They nearly doubled the total number of bottles collected last year.

Each Landings branch collected water and worked with a non-profit organization in their community to help provide water that they provide to the local homeless population. Their donations will help provide much needed water as temperatures rise.

This is Landings CU's second year doing a water drive. They already have good relationships with local non-profits, and they let Landings know that this was a great need during the summer. They had 100% participation from our staff in donating water, and several staff members spent the morning delivering water to the community organizations. Landings CU was also able to get our members and business partners involved with the donations.

Also in Arizona, Pyramid FCU's DE's spent the DE Day of Service volunteering at Ben's Bells.

They spent time decorating their "kindness coins". Ben's Bells is a nonprofit organization that was created when a local family suffered a tragic loss of their son. 


SchoolsFirst FCU DEs volunteered at Habitat for Humanity in Santa Ana on the DE Day of Service.



Twenty Four participants from ten countries attending the first Canadian DE Training and 26th Caribbean DE Training in Halifax, Nova Scotia cooperatively hauled dirt for raised beds at Common Roots Urban Farm Gardens.

Common Roots provides common garden plots for the community, 185 plots for rent ($50 US/year) as well as plots for a farmers’ market. A portion of the food grown is also donated to a local food bank. Proceeds from the farmers’ market (Approximately $18K US in 2016) are donated back to the community. A portion of the proceeds have been used to develop a gardening program for immigrants. The six month program provides increased access to food, introduces techniques and gardening methods to correspond with the climate and soil, provides education and connects people to employment! In addition to volunteering service, the class raised over $330 US.


Members Credit Union DEs (and future DEs) spent DE Day of Service volunteering at the Neighbor to Neighbor food and clothing pantry.


At Community Credit Union Central Florida YP Vice-Chair Jamie Affeld and Gigi Williams teamed up for Rides and Strides.

They collected shoes to forward to LSCU's Orlando vs. Tampa showdown and bikes for the Brevard County Sheriff's Department. The shoes will earn money for the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation and be forwarded to developing countries, and the bikes will be refurbished through the Sheriff's bike program and distributed to children in Brevard County.


SRCU's DEs volunteered at The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia on the DE Day of Service.


As part of DE Mark Lynch's DE Day of Service project, he was building some items that will be part of this year's DE Workshop in Tampa in July.
Also in Michigan, DE Heather Bessert worked with Allegan Credit Union to organize a cash mob at The Sassy Olive, a business that just opened its doors last month. "We had so much fun supporting our community, making friends and spending money on locally made items."

New Mexico

DEs in New Mexico - Amy Vigil, Matt Schmidt, Ron Moorehead and Juan Fernandez Ceballo - helped pack weekend survival food packs for seniors for Silver Horizons. Silver Horizons works to provide extra help for older adults with limited income in the Greater Albuquerque metro area.

Also in New Mexico, DEs at Guadalupe Credit Union raised money to buy shoes for children in their area.

North Carolina

Coastal's DEs and two other employees volunteered at a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood in Raleigh, NC.

Coastal has a long history of supporting Habitat, with one of their employees serves on their board and Coastal has a special low-rate mortgage program for Habitat clients.

Coastal spent the day putting the finishing touches on 5 different townhouse units. 5 families are going to have the opportunity to become homeowners.

Without the work that Habitat does, they might not be able to realize their dream.


CSE FCU DEs spent some time painting raised garden beds for a local urban garden for the DE Day of Service.


4 credit union "lifers" (including 3 DEs - Lisa Coates, Kim Anderson Bickford and Danielle Brown) helping to repack food at the Oregon Food Bank.

In a larger group of 29 people, they sorted 8,964 pounds of food which translates to 7,470 meals. Each prepared 258 meals in just under 2.5 hours!
Also in Oregon, DEs Mitzi Smith and Liz Henderson along with 4 staff members from Maps Credit Union 6 CU staff sorted 360 lbs. of onions and packed 5,000 cookies for local families.

That is more than $275 in volunteer time for the Marion Polk Food Share!

South Carolina

Credit Union Development Educators (CUDE) representing SC Telco, Katie and Toni supported the Homes of Hope Men's Development program. This program is a voluntary one-year residential job training and mentoring program for men overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

Items are needed for a New Home Welcome basket that will be given once a full year in the program is completed and the men move out on their own; two men will complete the program this summer.

Homes of Hope Men’s Development program is a voluntary one-year residential job training and mentoring program for men overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

Pictured Left to right Steve Harkins, Toni Davisson (DE class 2014), David Peebles from Homes of Hope (Resource Development Director), Katie Mitchell (DE class of 2016) and Brian McKay Sr. VP/ COO.

On the DE Day of Service, a group of volunteers from Carolina Foothills FCU (CFFCU) delivered Christmas a few months early to Spartanburg resident Rose Gilliam. The presents came in the form of much-needed home repairs and improvements to the home of the 65-year-old retired cafeteria worker.

“As a 24-year veteran of the Credit Union Development Educator program, I was more than happy to join with thousands of other DEs across the globe to make a difference,” said DE Terri Hendrix, vice president of business development and community engagement for CFFCU. “There is real power in numbers, and having many of my co-workers supporting it with their own sweat equity makes us an even more cohesive team!”

To learn more, click here.

Also in South Carolina, DE Kerri Smith am a member of the Carolina Mopar Foothills car club and one of her members was in a head-on, hit & run back on May 6th.

She organized with a local radio show, Hot Rods & Happy Hour, a fundraiser. They raised over $5,600 and brought out 200+ cars to support the cause. This is just a sampling of the Mopars there.


DEs at Tarrant County's Credit Union partnered with the Tarrant Area Food Bank and worked in their quality control department. The purpose of quality control is to inspect and sort food to be distributed to thirteen counties within North Texas.

Staff also collected new and gently used shoes for "Soles for Change", to be given to the Cornerstone Credit Union League and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation.
In El Paso, GECU’s Day of Service included the grand opening of the food pantry at the Lower Dyer Community Center and the donation of filled bags of food to 100 local families. The GECU Day of Service was held Wednesday, June 7th at the Lower Dyer Community Center.

GECU CUDE’s donated time and resources to serve the families of the Lower Dyer Community Center with the donations of the 100 bags of food for 100 families and officially opening the food pantry at the community center, in partnership with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger (EPFH). EPFH is a nonprofit organization combating the hunger crisis in our region through the help of community partners to distribute nutritious food to those in need.

To learn more, click here.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation celebrated the DE Day of Service with credit unions from around the region by collecting new and gently used shoes for Soles for Change, a Credit Unions Care initiative.

They ultimately collected more than75 bags, or 1,900 pairs, of shoes. For more information, click here.

Also in Texas, DE Gina Yetman organized a group of caring people to crochet small blankets and prayer squares for stillborn babies and their mothers in Dallas-area hospitals.

Too often these families are forgotten and do not get to share the special moment of wrapping their baby in a blanket that fits their angel. Gina saw a need and served it with hope and benevolence.

(A special thank you to the Caring Crafters of Resource One Credit Union)!

Trinidad and Tobago

The Clico Credit Union's Caribbean Credit Union Development Education members celebrated the DE Day of service by collecting toiletries and clothing that were all donated to the St. Jude's Home for Girls. Together, they filled 7 extra large boxes of items. It is also their intention to continue partnering with staff at the school in assisting the girls to transition on to success.


DE Danielle Banks at Fairfax County FCU created the "2 Day, 2 Item" project and launched it internally among employees of the credit union. The story behind it was that currently the credit union is going through an intense audit the next couple weeks which unfortunately is taking a lot of time from Danielle's fellow DE's - but she knew she wanted to at least do something... after thinking on Monday what we could do for DE Day of Service, Danielle came up with an idea to have a rush campaign (starting Tuesday and ending Wednesday afternoon) to have every employee come together to donate at LEAST 2 Items to the NOVACO shelter for homeless families and individuals who have fallen victim to domestic violence and human trafficking. They had a GREAT response from employees of my credit union loads of support.

All donations given to the shelter are disbursed equally and for free among those who are in need. These are men, women, kids, and families who are in great need right here in our community and it goes to show that when called upon our credit union can come together to help. This means a lot to them because of high demand in the shelter a lot of items fly off the shelves to help others and for us to give anything means a lot to those who work in the shelter. Originally they were going to just donate to one shelter but we were able to help two shelters:
  • NOVACO Shelter (Artemis House) – Emergency shelter that exists to help provide shelter, necessities, and counseling to support families and individuals who have fallen victim to domestic violence and human/sex trafficking.
  • Katherine Hanley Shelter - Temporary emergency shelter for family in needs. Residents are adults and kids – usually larger families. Donation collected at this shelter will also provide support to other Safe Houses residents as well as individual cases of need in the community.


DE’s at Peninsula Credit Union in Shelton, WA - Jim Morrell, Kim Ingham, and Kirk Smith - went to North Mason Food Bank and volunteered; helping clean, weed whack, sort, organize, and more. It was an opportunity to leverage an existing partnership and help families in need.
Also in Washington, DEs Justin Martin and Vivian Valencia from Verity Credit Union participated in DE Day of Service, along with other Verity colleagues, by volunteering for the University District Food Bank (UDFB) in Seattle, WA.

Each week, more than 1,200 different families receive the groceries they need to prepare nutritionally balanced meals at home. Approximately 16% of UDFB customers are infants and children, 56% are adults, 28% are senior citizens and15% are homeless. UDFB's home delivery program reaches another 110 homebound seniors every week and their backpack program provides almost 500 kids with healthy meals and snacks for the weekend when school meals aren’t available. Two-thirds of UDFB households have at least one person working at a job full time but rely on the food bank to help save a few dollars to use for other monthly expenses. One-third of food bank customers report looking for additional employment.

In Richland, Gesa Credit Union DEs, and many of their colleagues, volunteered at Meals on Wheels. They packed up meals and built a community garden for the "mobile Seniors" to access garden fresh produce when they visit.

They also taught a class for Meals on Wheels volunteers about the signs of identity theft and elder financial abuse they can look for when visiting Seniors in their homes.


A group of Madison DEs volunteered to help people get food at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. Local DEs have been doing monthly volunteering outings around the development issue of hunger all year, so this was another opportunity to make a difference in this area. For this activity, they hosted clients around the pantry, some of which had been waiting hours to get food until all were helped. The pantry's customer-choice model of operation honors the dignity of clients and all involved in the distribution of free food to people who need it. This model also helps minimize waste and accommodates ethnic preferences by allowing clients to use “points” to shop for food their families prefer and will eat. DEs also donated some items as well.

For more information, click here.


Young Credit Union Professionals across Wyoming are presenting to their credit unions and communities to educate on Financial Elder Abuse. To pair with Elder Abuse Awareness Month, this fills a need throughout Wyoming for education on the topic.

All staff are impacted and empowered to help make a difference in the lives of the community. The seniors have been very thankful for the information and the presentations have already helped to protect their assets from fraudsters and exploitation.

For More Information... Lacey Yasick, Communications Senior Manager, at or (608) 231-4397.