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Bank Employees Embrace Community

Employees at Citizens Community Federal Bank realized they wanted to become deeply engaged with the communities they serve. Though they had delivered a donation check, they decided that making an impact through hands-on volunteering was their goal.

After learning about the issue of youth homelessness at a Lunch ‘n Learn facilitated by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota staff, they formed a partnership with the Metro Homeless Youth Programs (MHYP). Working hard with the MHYP, they designed a youth financial literacy curriculum that would be presented at independent living skills groups. These groups are a mandatory part of the MHYP, and act as a place for youth experiencing homelessness to learn the skills they need to live independently in the community.

The volunteer bankers helped youth in the Metro Homeless Youth Programs learn things that many of us take for granted, such as budgeting, the importance of having a bank account and building credit. Armed with an open-mind, knowledge and lots of pizza, staff from Citizens Community Federal took turns presenting to the youth. These hour long presentations were highly interactive and full of questions from the youth. No matter what questions or comments the youth threw at the volunteers, everything from home mortgages to the idea that we should all be using gold coins instead of cash, the bankers were able to share their knowledge and keep the youth engaged and participating.

The youth are not the only ones who have benefited from this partnership. District Manager Peter Onstad sees the impact volunteering and engaging with the community has had on his team. 

 “Getting to work with these youth at the LSS Metro Homeless Youth Programs and knowing you are making a positive impact has been a very memorable experience for my team,” said Peter Onstad, the district manager. He went on to explain that being involved with the MHYP has allowed Citizens Community Federal to “embrace what a community bank is in every sense of the way.”