Eastman Credit Union workers give $4,630 to Boys and Girls Club

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
Eastman Credit Union employees get paid on a Thursday and have a chance to dress down and wear matching T-shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes as part of the credit union’s “Casual for a Cause.”

Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County on Thursday received a check for $4,630.55 that was part of $50,000 shared among 11 community organizations in the credit union’s area. Since 2020, ECU’s giving from the program has topped $164,000 and supported 36 charities.

“It’s a wonderful program where our employees choose organizations they want to support,” said ECU’s CEO and President Kelly Price in a release. She explained there is a voting process that begins in the fall where employees choose the following year’s recipients. “Then, we call those selected to let them know that we’ll be raising money for them during the upcoming year and to share that we’ll add their organization’s name to the back of our T-shirts.”

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Boys and Girls Club CEO Shelly Parham led ECU employees Kindle Conkin, ECU corporate communications manager, and Tim Parsons, systems analyst, on a tour of the facility, including the games room, a full kitchen, teen room, sensory room, art room, and the Danny Smith Learning Center.

Parham said about 110 children come into the club after school each day and in the summer the number increases to 165. “Last year, we served over 11,000 snacks and meals,” she said, and explained the Boys and Girls Club is “a nonprofit with a really small budget, so all of it matters to us and all of it matters to the kids.

“That’s the most important thing to me is that they get to come here every day and their parents get to stay at work every day and they’re not worried about where their child is,” Parham said.

The club picks up students from 12 different schools and parents pay $12 a week for the after-school program, while it costs about $26 per child, per day. “We feed them a snack after school and a hot dinner and help them with homework so they go home and actually can have quality time with their family,” she said. Those who are 13 or older can attend the club at no cost.

The program started in 1947 as the “Boys Club,” but extended its outreach and changed the name to the Boys and Girls Club in the 1990s.

In addition to the Boys and Girls Club, the charities chosen by ECU employees in 2023 were Appalachian Service Project, Daily Bread Community Kitchen, Morristown/Hamblen County Humane Society, Hawkins County Humane Society, Lee County Animal Shelter, SCMA Food Pantry, Pathfinders Youth Camp, SMILE Foster Closet, Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center, and Longview Dream Center.

ECU has more than 1,000 employees serving in Tennessee, Virginia and Texas.