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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.


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Giving back: CUaware Midlands builds birdhouses for local children’s hospitals through Reach

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative principles by working with other cooperatives through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.

Principle Seven: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship.

The Midlands chapter of CUaware recently partnered with the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation for a workshop social to benefit Victory Junction and its Reach program. The event took place at the League’s headquarters in Irmo, SC, on May 5. During the event, attendees from several area credit unions as well as representatives of the League gathered together for a night of fun, fellowship, and support of this great community initiative. Attendees worked collaboratively - in true cooperative spirit - to build wooden birdhouses for patients at local children’s hospital served by the Reach program. Children will soon enjoy painting the birdhouses during Reach team visits.

Jonathan Lemmon, the Reach Program Director at Victory Junction was in attendance to direct the CUaware attendees and talk more extensively about the program. "Reach, just like our camp program at Victory Junction, provides these children in the hospitals with experiences that they would not have otherwise. It's never about the craft we create or the game we play, but the interactions with the Reach team ... the friendly face of positivity that we can give them. Children in hospitals and their families have enough to worry about. We can't change why they are there, but we can put a smile on their face,” noted Lemmon. “That is what Reach is all about ... the smiles".

Lauren Whaley, Carolinas Credit Union Foundation President, has announced that the night raised a grand total of $385 that will go directly towards the Reach program and carrying out its wonderful mission in every corner of the Carolinas.

“For the Midlands chapter of CUaware, this was the first event that focused primarily on being involved in carrying out our cooperative philosophy for the benefit of the community, and participants responded very positively to the opportunity and to partnering with the Foundation for credit unions,” comments Zach DeMoya, CUaware’s volunteer coordinator and Account Services Representative for Palmetto Citizens CU. “The hope is that through each future endeavor, Columbia-area credit union team members will become more-and-more aware and apt to make the same cooperative difference outside the walls of the individual credit unions they represent.”

More About Reach

Learn more about REACH and how you can get involved in this video

The Reach Team members are specially trained staff that work closely with the hospital’s “Child Life” team to develop an activity plan specifically designed for the individual facility to enhance and support the existing pediatric program. This hands-on approach includes room-to-room visits as well as a “Camp Day” format. Each Reach activity is carefully designed to meet the specific needs and abilities of each child. Visits by the Reach Team help reduce the stress of a hospital stay with creative and age-appropriate camp fun including painting, wood working, song writing, crafts, puppetry, games and many more exciting and creative activities.

The impact this program has on the lives of children in the Carolinas as well as their families speaks to the heart of the Foundation’s mission, which is to enrich the lives of children. The success in 2015 was remarkable with close to 4,200 children experiencing the Reach program.

Tags:  CUaware  Principle Seven  Principle Six 

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CUaware Triad lunch and learn focuses on proper credit usage

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, March 14, 2016
Updated: Monday, March 14, 2016

Guest speaker Jon Hamby (Members CU) presented
information on the proper use of credit at the meeting
held at Truliant FCU in Winston-Salem.

Jon Hamby (Members CU), a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC), shared information on the proper use of credit at the CUaware Triad lunch and learn session held February 17. About 35 credit union staff attended "Credit - A Better Understanding" at the Truliant FCU headquarters in Winston-Salem.

In addition to his role at Members, Hamby is very active and engaged in CUaware, and earned his CCUFC designation in 2015 while participating in the CUaware Protégé Mentor program.

In addition to the program focused on the proper use of credit, the meeting featured a 50/50 raffle with the winner taking home $48.   

Tags:  CUaware 

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Zach DeMoya recaps successful CUaware Columbia meeting

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2016

(Editor's note: Zach deMoya, a 2015 CUaware Protégé Competition Finalist, is organizing a CUaware Council in Columbia. Zach serves as a lending assistant for Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union.)

"As credit union professionals we all may represent
different organizations, but should share the same
passion and zeal to strengthen the financial wellness
of all those we serve and work together to spread the
good message of the credit union difference."

Credit union professionals from a variety of Columbia-area credit unions gathered together for the first time for the launch event for CUaware Columbia on August 24th at Liberty Tap Room in downtown Columbia. The goal of this event was to promote unity and collaboration among our local credit unions to better serve our members and advocate the credit union difference more prominently in the Columbia-area. 

This event served as an informal way for those interested in being a part of the movement to connect with one another and start forming relationships that will hopefully be the building blocks to a much larger, unified effort at truly cooperating with one another to be people helping people.

Roughly thirty-five to forty individuals representing five credit unions and the Carolinas Credit Union League, in addition to representation from our local partner Enterprise, came together for a night of fun, fellowship, and networking. I had the privilege of getting to spearhead the organization of the night, and heard nothing but positive feedback from attendees and a shared desire to continue to gather together and take our group out into the community to make a more concerted effort at bettering our city. 

I got to witness both friendships being built and ideas and feedback being shared amongst individuals coming from various credit unions. This was extremely cool to watch considering one of the ultimate goals of CUaware is to learn, share, and grow together, and work to cooperate rather than be in competition with one another for the same members.

As credit union professionals we all may represent different organizations, but should share the same passion and zeal to strengthen the financial wellness of all those we serve and work together to spread the good message of the credit union difference.

The overwhelming takeaway from the night was a spirit of wanting to work together as a team to grow the CUaware movement and continue to build long-lasting collaboration among our local credit unions. Our next event will be at a to-be-determined location in early April, with more of a focus on being present out in the community through service and advocacy. Especially if you are a part of a Columbia-area credit union team, but even if outside the area, I would strongly encourage you to be a part of your local CUAware chapter and work to make our credit unions stronger and carry a more powerful message, both internally and externally in your local communities.

For more information on CUaware Columbia, feel free to contact me and I would love for you to be a part of our growing movement!

Born and raised in Lexington, S.C., Zach deMoya graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s in education. He has a passion for financial planning and aspires to provide financial counseling to high-risk areas. He also encourages the movement as whole to take a deeper look at this often underserved demographic.

Tags:  Columbia  CUaware  Palmetto Citizens FCU 

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Triad CUaware Council celebrates holidays in - style?

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, December 14, 2015
Updated: Monday, December 14, 2015

Jon Hamby (Members CU) of the
CUaware Triad Council in a lighted (and
ugly) sweater.

The CUaware Triad Council capped off an eventful and successful 2015 with an ugly sweater contest. The event attracted 18 people from six credit unions and credit union organizations.

This is the second year the Triad Council donned ugly sweaters to ring in the holidays. This year, the event took place at 66 Pizzeria. 

Heather Hicks (Truliant FCU) won the competition for ugliest sweater. Hicks won a certificate of achievement and gift card from Starbucks. 

While the Council is taking the rest of the year off to spend with family and friends, plans are already in place to meet in 2016! The Council will hold a lunch and learn event on February 17. Save the date - and Happy Holidays!

Tags:  CUaware 

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CUaware to hold first meeting in Columbia January 12

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, December 04, 2015
Updated: Friday, December 04, 2015

Zach DeMoya (Palmetto Citizens FCU), the 2015
Columbia Chapter CUaware Protégé, is
organizing the January event in Columbia.

If you live and work in the Columbia area, circle January 12 on your calendar and make plans to attend the first-ever CUaware meeting in the Midlands. The event takes place beginning at 6:15 pm at Jillians of Columbia (800 Gervais Street).

CUaware is a council with the Carolinas Credit Union League created to fill a gap that exists within the credit union industry: the very people that work in credit unions don’t know they work for the best kept secret! CUaware aims to informally introduce all levels of credit union employees (and industry folks) to the CU Movement.

Zach DeMoya of Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, the 2015 Columbia Chapter CUaware Protégé, is organizing the event. It is intended to be a relaxing evening of networking, but with a longer-term goal of engaging credit union employees with the broader community. "We hope to use our strength in numbers to work on volunteer projects together, hear from guest speakers that offer different perspectives than we typically hear in our credit unions, and learn how we can work together to help everyone in the community realize their financial potential," DeMoya said.

If your 2016 goals include having a greater impact in your credit union career, make plans to join your friends at this event! For more information, please contact Zach DeMoya

Tags:  CUaware 

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