Whether funding support services, enrichment, and development activities, mentoring and education programs, medical research, providing scholarships, volunteering in the community, or sponsoring local events, here are just some of things that DCU is doing in the community.
Although April is designated as Financial Literacy month, the tips and lessons learned and shared should be applied throughout the entire year. DCU believes that financial education empowers individuals to achieve their goals and improve their financial footing. Just a few of the initiatives that took place throughout April included sharing budgeting tips with our members, participating in virtual events that promoted financial well-being for individuals of all ages, and using DCU’s social media channels and other marketing vehicles to educate and engage our members including:
On April 14, Mount Wachusett Community College hosted hundreds of students from North Central Massachusetts for their Healthy Minds half-day virtual curriculum of educational workshops and fun. DCU sponsored the event, along with a representative from DCU’s Public Relations Department presenting to 70 students during a 45-minute workshop “Teens to Twenties: Glo Up Money Plan.” Students were encouraged to create a vision board for their 10-year financial aspirations. A focus on college, credit, and cash exposed students to what good credit, limited borrowing, and a focus on saving should and will mean to them.
DCU created a video to share information on free services available through the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. The video was shared on in-branch televisions as well as on our social media channels. These federal programs are available through the IRS to assist qualified taxpayers access to tax benefits that may be available by providing free tax preparation services.
On April 16, DCU team members were on hand to facilitate and mentor students from Worcester East Middle School during a Dollar $cholar virtual webinar. The two-budgeting sessions brought 50 students lessons around financing how they imagined their futures. From choosing a career, home, transportation, and making lifestyle decisions, students were mentored around budgeting their choices with their perspective career incomes. Exposure to what an education may cost, to other expenses such as: housing, food, and entertainment allowed students to get a glimpse into what a budget means for their future.
The United Way of Central Massachusetts facilitated the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program once again to provide free tax-preparation services to qualified individuals. DCU’s support of these efforts helped provide volunteers with the training and support they needed to assist hundreds of individuals and families file their taxes. The Volunteer Thank You event was a night dedicated to the many volunteers who make the VITA program a success for so many individuals who rely on this service.
When Safe Homes, an affiliated program of Open Sky Community Services, reached out to DCU for support of this year’s gala, there was no question that we’d assist in their mission to decrease isolation and foster health and well-being in LGBTQIA+ youth in Central MA. The organization found DCU after a conversation with other LGBTQIA+ leaders in the Worcester, MA area who identified DCU as an organization that supports inclusion. The virtual gala featured testimonials from former program attendees who now facilitate groups or volunteer their services at Safe Homes.
Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GALs) of Worcester County is a not-for-profit organization committed to speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Worcester County Courts. CASA held their Champions for Children fundraiser virtually on April 30. DCU sponsored the event where awards to those who are making a difference for countless youth in our communities were presented.
Annually, people across the globe celebrate 3.14, the first three significant digits of the mathematical constant pi π on March 14th. Much like DCU, Table Talk Pies, based out of Worcester, MA, is a local staple that strives to make a big impact in the community. DCU was able to share a slice of the fun by sponsoring and sending pies to the Worcester Police and Fire Departments. This small, sweet gesture brought smiles and joy to the men and women who tirelessly serve our communities.
DCU team members volunteered virtually to give back in a meaningful way at Girls, Inc., an organization dedicated to encouraging all girls to be smart, strong, and bold. The DCU team provided valuable personalized feedback and guidance on interviewing skills and resume-building while working with girls who are part of Eureka!, a five-year STEM program that engages and empowers 8th to 12th grade girls to build confidence and discover leadership and academic opportunities.
In partnership with the Dollar $cholar program through the United Way of Central MA’s Women’s Initiative, team members spent the morning of March 17 meeting virtually with 50 middle school girls from Leicester, MA Public Schools. The youth came prepared for the session with career aspirations in mind and spent the morning imagining how they see themselves living as a career woman. Mentors helped walk the girls through decisions about where they wanted to live, what lifestyle choices they look forward to, and how they will educate themselves. After these aspirations were budgeted, salaries for their desired careers were provided, and the girls learned how to balance their budgets.
To celebrate our Hudson, NH branch relocation, team members spent time packing insulated grocery totes with food and goodies to give out to residents through the help of the Hudson Senior Center. Packages included soups, pastas, oatmeal, tea, hot cocoa, cookies, a word search book, and other goodies. The director of the Hudson Senior Center expressed appreciation for the gesture. Many seniors have been isolated from social activities during the pandemic and were thrilled to receive a package, thoughtfully put together by their neighbors.
During the month of February, DCU participated in the annual Gift of Warmth Drive in collaboration with other Massachusetts Credit Unions. Through this drive, donations of blankets and children's pajamas provide comfort and warmth for a child who receives a bed through the organization, through the "A Bed for Every Child" through the MA Coalition for the Homeless. This year team members pooled their resources, purchasing blankets and pajamas for the virtual effort. Our small role in this drive will help to keep children safe and warm.
On February 11, DCU supported and sponsored the 8th Annual Kids at Heart Mentoring Gala. Virtual attendees enjoyed a video of mentors and their mentees talking about what being matched together means to them. Mentoring not only improves the lives of youth in our communities, but also provides a meaningful way for adults to give back and shape our next generation of leaders.
For the first time, DCU sponsored the Authentic Caribbean Foundation’s virtual event to honor difference-makers in the Caribbean-American community and acknowledge Afro Caribbean Black History. Award recipients and other honorees were applauded for their contributions to community-building. The night was as entertaining as it was inspiring as several Caribbean-influenced musicians provided singing, drumming, and a chance for Zoom dancing.
In recognition of January as National Mentoring Month, DCU partnered with local non-profit LUK, Inc. to produce a 90 second video about the impact of mentoring youth. This video spoke to the benefits of youth having an adult they can confide in. It highlighted mentoring’s role in reducing school absenteeism and increasing college attendance rates, and stressed that the impact can be achieved in as little as one hour per week.
DCU team members virtually attended the 16th Annual Massachusetts Conference for Women. This conference provided opportunities including a complimentary career coaching and résumé review, facilitated networking discussions and a women-owned business marketplace for attendees to shop local. Breakout sessions covered activism, leadership, adversity, problem solving, and mental health.
Members of DCU’s Marketing Team crafted 100 quick-release paracord survival bracelets to support military service members and first responders through Operation Gratitude. These simple yet essential bracelets are worn to be used in an emergency, holding up to 550 lbs. of weight and provide 7.5 feet of cord. The paracord can assist in making a shelter or splint, or by unweaving the individual nylon strands to make fishing line, emergency sutures, or to be used in other survival situations.
DCU continued its support of the annual Toys for Tots drive in Marlborough, MA. Partnering each year with local Marines, our efforts to provide a monetary donation in 2020 allowed the organization to purchase toys for area children. The drive was an overall success, and we are thankful to hear that so many children were provided a gift this Christmas thanks to the ongoing generosity of the neighbors in our communities.
Women in leadership and emerging leaders from across the credit union attended the 11th Annual Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference, presented by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. DCU was a major sponsor of this event, introducing the morning keynote speaker and facilitating a question-and-answer segment following the keynote presentation. This year’s event, offered through a virtual platform, provided an opportunity for women to learn about business and personal growth, entrepreneurship, balancing family, and self-care, among other topics.
DCU donated 48 backpacks complete with school supplies to the Merrimack Valley Dream Center of Lawrence, MA, benefiting elementary-to-middle school-aged students living in the Greater Lawrence community. This donation was part of the organization’s “Back to School Backpack Giveaway,” which helped families who lost their jobs to the pandemic.
The United Way of Central Massachusetts Women’s Initiative provides Dollar $cholar programming to middle and high school aged girls, guiding youth through financial literacy and education. DCU participated in the taping of two segments: Savings and Interest and Using Credit Wisely as part of a collaborative video which familiarized youth with financial literacy.
DCU team members joined the Corridor 9/495 Chamber of Commerce at the Community Harvest Project’s apple orchard in Groton, MA. Three-thousand pounds of apples were picked and sorted by volunteers, equating to 10,000 servings of fresh fruit donated to the Worcester County Food Bank.
Since 2000, DCU and DCU for Kids have supported the Credit Unions Kids at Heart® program, competing in the Boston Marathon while raising funds for pediatric brain research projects at Boston Children's Hospital. DCU team members completed the modified 124th Annual Boston Marathon while another teammate completed an unofficial half marathon, helping raise more than $75,000 to support Boston Children’s Hospital’s mission of helping children lead happy and healthy lives.
DCU sponsored the United Way of North Central Massachusetts’ Annual Day of Caring. Between two half-day events, numerous agencies hosted 35 projects with 294 volunteers who provided a total of 1,176 hours of hands-on assistance. While this year looked a little different due to social distancing requirements, the meaningful impact left remained the same. From painting to gardening, clean-outs and clean-ups, organizing, filing, and having a little fun, volunteers proved to be an invaluable asset to many local non-profit agencies.
In partnership with Brigham & Women’s Hospital, the Step Up for Stepping Strong Challenge encouraged participants to track 500 million cumulative steps, providing a $100,000 donation from Cigna Health to The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma. DCU team members accumulated a total of 1,711,945 steps during the event.
Boston 25 News concluded the 2020 Zip Trip season , a partnership in which DCU had the honor of virtually presenting the Hometown Hero Award to worthy individuals and organizations making a difference in their communities. The summer of 2020 was DCU’s ninth year serving as the exclusive financial institution to sponsor the Boston 25 Zip Trip season.
Fostering Change, Inc. works to assist children in foster care throughout Massachusetts. With the support of partners like DCU, Fostering Change gathered supplies for back-to-school needs including new backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, and more.
DCU sponsored the Worcester-based organization Love Your Labels, which provides programming to address identity development and social-emotional learning. Their newly organized Youth Board, comprised of queer and trans emerging leaders ages 13-18, provides access to financial literacy resources, workforce readiness opportunities, and leadership training and workshops.
Team members spent time weeding and filling raised garden beds at the Seven Hills Foundation’s affiliate, the ASPiRE! Program . The garden is part of their horticultural program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and brain injuries, which helps to foster life skills.
DCU and Credit Union Student Choice hosted a free webinar, created to help students and their families gain a better understanding of their student lending options, borrower eligibility, and the college application process. DCU members accounted for over 65% of all attendees, ensuring that our members have the necessary knowledge and tools to make fully informed decisions when it comes to pursuing a higher education.
DCU sponsored the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Corporate Cup , where team members participated virtually in a series of friendly competitions. Proceeds raised from the event helped make a positive impact through the “Every Child Fund” at Boston Children’s Hospital – designed to help children and families, and fuel lifesaving research.
DCU teamed up with Boston 25 News to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, and everyday citizens as Hometown Heroes in communities throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Each award segment highlighted inspiring stories to honor local heroes who went above and beyond to help their neighbors and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team members shared thank you messages to essential workers in early May in honor of Giving Tuesday. We invite you to view the video here.
Throughout the credit union, team members continued to make a difference in their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some examples included crocheting and providing 3D printing mask fasteners for frontline workers to alleviate the stress on the ears, and by packing meals for The Outreach Program to send to food pantries throughout New England.
DCU once again sponsored Red Nose Day, a campaign with the mission to end child poverty by funding programs that keep children safe, healthy, and educated. Comic Relief USA brings people together through the power of entertainment, while raising life-changing funds to help the children that need it most. The campaign went digital in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with DCU purchasing 2,000 red noses to share with team members and community partners.