Walking in a member’s shoes

Sometimes a phrase gets used so often that it loses its impact, like “People Helping People.” Those three words perfectly embody what the credit union movement is all about. But in the abstract, they can become cliché. Those unfamiliar with the origin and mission of credit unions might not understand the significance of the phrase, and even those with long histories in the credit union movement can get jaded or lose sight of the difference credit unions offer compared with their many competitors.

In order for credit unions to truly maximize their impact on communities, they should strive to put themselves in the shoes of the members they serve. This may be easier said than done for people who are fortunate enough to have never been faced with a life-altering crisis. How can we help foster empathy and create a better understanding of the power of “People Helping People”?

One way is through the National Credit Union Foundation’s Life Simulation experience. The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership better understand what it would be like to live as a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. The interactive experience combines the financial and emotional distress that 25 simulated “families” tackle throughout the course of three hours. Participants are left painfully aware of the daily realities facing many Americans, including credit union members around the country.

Uncovering stories about real people struggling to rise above the curveballs life has thrown at them is a great way to rekindle a passion for credit unions, which is really the driving force behind “People Helping People.” Whether it is based on personal experience, or through participation in the Life Simulation or something similar, it is important for anyone in the industry to recognize that the smiling faces of those around them often mask hurt, hardship and a real call for help – if only someone would notice. Credit unions can be that someone for many people in need.

PSCU is committed to making a difference in the community and supporting its employees in their charitable endeavors. The company believes that investing in the future starts by uniting with the credit union industry in philanthropic causes and continues through to a commitment to the broader community of current and future credit union members.

The Credit Union Service Organization champions numerous community outreach programs through its Helping Hands initiative. This internal initiative includes active engagement and leadership guidance in Junior Achievement, fundraising to fight cancer with Relay for Life, and underwriting to provide for critical research to mitigate childhood illness through a partnership with Children’s Miracle Network. To further encourage philanthropy, PSCU matches charitable donations to 501(c)(3) organizations up to $100 per year per PSCU employee.

“People Helping People” is far from a cliché. It is a call to action for each of us to look around and see how we can help one another and build the kind of community in which we all want to live.

Thomas Olney

Thomas Olney

Tom Olney oversees business processes to ensure approved initiatives are completed in an accurate and timely manner at PSCU. He directs the development and implementation of major initiatives within the ... Web: www.pscu.com Details