UNION — Three Union County High School students recently addressed the Union Rotary Club about the Arthur State Bank Junior Board of Directors program and its Project SPARK random acts of kindness program.
Accompanied by Arthur State Bank officials and Junior Board of Directors Advisor Lori Dochterman and Director John Gregory, Mary Beth Hanve, Kasie Roark, and Mariana Glenn-Toland addressed the Rotary Club on various aspects of the Junior Board of Directors program including its history, purpose, activities, and goals.
“The Junior Board program is an educational program designed to expose students to areas of the banking environment, promote civic responsibility, and educate students with scheduled programs during monthly meetings,” Hanvey said in her introduction to the program’s history.
Hanvey told Rotarians that the Junior Board of Directors began in 2009 “when Carlisle Oxner, president and Chief Executive Officer of Arthur State Bank decided to start the program to benefit the youth of Union County. Arthur State Bank partnered with Union County High School to offer the program to our Union County youth. Through his vision the junior board has become a growing membership with civic responsibility as a priority for its members.”
Originally, the board had 10 members, but Hanvey said that in the seven years since its membership has grown with a total of 23 members on this year’s board. Just as its membership has grown, Hanvey said that the board’s involvement in the community has also grown.
“The vision of the program has moved in many different directions over the years,” Hanvey said. “With each challenge the advisors hopes to fulfill a need of the members as well as our community. The board has been part of many projects since 2009.
“The board has held fundraising projects like Make A Wish, Relay for Life, The Potters House, and the Miracle League,” she said. “We have also taken part in raising awareness of the need for kindness in Union. Through our community service Project SPARK, we have been able to see what kindness can do to help people.”
Hanvey said that “this term the advisors are offering the board members an opportunity to improve on their skills.”
Roark then took over the presentation, addressing the Rotarians about the life skills project and the importance of those skill being instilled in young people.
“Our project his year has been focused on providing members with skills that will not only last while in high school, but hopefully a life time,” Roark said. “By definition Life Skills are the ability to cope with stresses and challenges of daily life, they include skills in communication and literacy, decision-making, occupational requirements, problem-solving, time management, and planning. Now that sounds pretty simple, especially in the tech-savvy world we live in today, but not always.”
Roark said that those skills run the gamut from the traditional that are still needed to those made necessary by the rise of the Internet.
“This year we have been given the opportunity to learn through our monthly meetings such things as: how to balance a checkbook, how to complete a deposit and withdrawals transactions,” Roark said. “John informed the board on the importance of good credit, proper use of credit cards, and the loan application process. We also held an online tutorial concerning the benefits of online safety while accessing our own bank accounts with Arthur State Bank’s new mobile app.
“We have learned the lost art of writing a simple thank you note and why it is still important today,” she said. “Our December meeting focused on proper dinner etiquette. This included proper place settings for dinnerware, table manners, and restaurant courtesies.”
Roark said that the board’s January meeting would feature an address by Anne Turner Hill of Protocol Matters who would be speaking on how first impressions are lasting, the importance of self-confidence, and why etiquette is essential every day.
Glenn-Toland began her part of the program by asking the Rotarians two questions.
“Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness from a stranger or an anonymous source? Do you remember how it made you feel?”
Glenn-Toland pointed out that “you have the power to change someone’s life for the better in practicing a random act of kindness. You may simply intervene and lift their spirits and make their day brighter than they thought possible, or you might change their whole way of thinking.”
Such random kindness lies at the heart of the board’s Project SPARK community service program.
“As many of you know, the Junior Board began Project SPARK which stands for Share & Promote Acts of Random Kindness,” Glenn-Toland said. “As stated on the Pay It Forward website, ‘Any random act of kindness can cause a positive ripple effect restoring our faith in the love and compassion of the human spirit.’”
Glenn-Toland the pointed out that “each day you and I are given an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of others. How?”
The answer to that question according to Glenn-Toland is “it may be a simple smile or just a gesture of kindness as we go through each day. Each of the members are challenged to complete their own individual SPARK. And include their family members, friends, neighbors, and you too. We challenge you to show kindness in your daily activities.”
Glenn-Toland then provided the following quotes that she said would “hopefully motivate your kindness today.”
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Maya Angelou
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world… it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Meade
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
“So think about the people in your life and just one special way you can show them much you care today,” Glenn-Toland said. “You can start today. Look to the person to your right. Think of a nice thing about them or characteristic you admire about that person.
“Now tell that person what you admire about them (and) see what happens,” she said. “It seems awkward at first, but the more you think about the nice things about people the easier it is to tell them.”
Glenn-Toland thanked the Rotarians allowing her and Hanvey and Roark to speak, and said she hoped that they would join the board members in their efforts to show kindness. She concluded with the following quote:
To be nice, to be kind, to be considerate doesn’t cost you a penny and what you give is worth more than money can buy.
— Catherine Pulsifer
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.