MADISON, Wis. – CUNA Mutual Group is going national with its successful after-school volunteer program. The “Lend A Hand” pilot program was launched by CUNA Mutual and eight Madison-area credit unions in September 2003 to help credit unions partner with local schools in recruiting 200 tutors for middle-school students during after-school hours. “Research shows the 3 to 6 p.m. time period is a vulnerable time for middle-schoolers,” said Steve Goldberg, CUNA Mutual Group Foundation Executive Director. ” `Lend A Hand’ is especially helpful to those students who may already be at risk due to disadvantaged circumstances. Goldberg announced to 93 marketing managers gathered at the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) annual conference held in Madison recently that the local-area program model is now available for credit unions to implement no matter where they’re based. Cindy Sutherland, marketing director at Madison’s Heritage Credit Union, said the time she has spent volunteering at the Sherman Middle School has been very rewarding. “ The kids all go through different challenges each day in their homes, at school and with their friends. They need the positive reinforcement that this after-school program gives them, and being part of `Lend A Hand,’ I am able to contribute to their day and hopefully make a difference,” she said. CUNA Mutual has made available on its Web site (click on “Resources”) free tools that credit unions can download to develop the program in their own communities. The toolkit includes a “how to” guide to help credit unions organize a volunteer tutoring program with local middle schools and a variety of marketing materials that can be customized to promote the community service program to employees, members and the community. The “Lend A Hand” youth community service campaign for credit unions provides the following: * a flow of adult volunteers for local middle schools’ after-school programs; * a volunteer option for credit union employees, and members; * a stronger position for credit unions to partner with local schools and students; and * a positive impact on middle-school students and the local community.

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