AFFINITY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION PARTNERS WITH THE MIDLAND SCHOOL TO OFFER FRESH PRODUCE & GOOD DEEDS
Pictured above (top row standing, L to R) Matt O’Brien, owner of O’Brien’s Bistro, Beth Degnan, executive director, Affinity Federal Credit Union Foundation, Tony Oxford, Midland job coach, Grant Gallagher, Affinity external affairs specialist, (seated L to R) Midland School Students Kevin F., Zack M., and David N.
Basking Ridge & Branchburg, NJ (Thursday, July 26, 2012) – Affinity Federal Credit Union is proud to host “Farm Fresh Thursdays” at its headquarters each summer to help benefit its core community partner, The Midland School of Branchburg, NJ.
“Over the past nine years, Affinity has given Midland students the opportunity to set up a summer farm stand and sell locally-grown produce,” says Transition-to-Work Supervisor, Mrs. Jane Wilkie. “Our students look forward to the experience each week and develop vital skills they’ll need to obtain competitive employment such as how to interact with customers, bag groceries, display merchandise and navigate a corporate environment. I know I speak for all of us here when I say we are so thankful for the support of Affinity and the wonderful people there that make what we do at Midland possible.”
According to Beth Degnan,executive director of the Affinity Federal Credit Union Foundation, “The Midland School has been a core community partner with our Foundation since its inception. Our model is to ‘walk the dollars,’ so in addition to our financial support, we marry our gifting of money with volunteerism and outreach.”
Every Thursday throughout the summer, Midland’s older students have an opportunity to run the farm stand and get experience working with the public. They learn socialization, counting money, and dealing with purchasing at a retail level.
“In addition to extending this partnership to our employees, we are thrilled to have involved Chef Matt O’Brien, the owner of O’Brien’s Bistro, which manages our company cafeteria,” said Degnan. “Chef O’Brien joins us in partnering with this initiative and buys from the students for use in the menus his kitchen prepares.”
Throughout the year, the Affinity Foundation looks for other ways to partner with the Midland school and do outreach with their adult services workshop. For example, whenever there is an opportunity to engage more workers for projects like collating or copying, Affinity turns to Midland’s Adult Services division.
About the Midland School: Founded in 1960, The Midland School, located in North Branch, NJ, is a nationally recognized, nonprofit comprehensive special education school dedicated to the individual, social, emotional, academic and careeer needs of children with developmental disabilities. The school currently serves 188 students ages 5 through 21 from 13 counties in New Jersey. In addition to traditional academic subjects, Midland provides speech and occupational therapy, counseling and social skill instruction. Midland provides job training to all students, and as a result, 70 to 80 percent of Midland graduates obtain competitive employment within their communities after graduation. The school also provides continuing social and recreational activities for its graduates through an active Alumni Association.
Midland’s goal is to provide services and support across the lifespan that help the people they serve reach their highest level of achievement and become contributing members of their communities. To meet this goal, Midland Adult Services (MAS) was established to provide high quality community housing, job training and placement services, as well as social and recreational experiences to support and enrich the lives of adults with special needs. MAS Employment Services offers supervised job training and employment to developmentally disabled young adults, aged 21 and older. Working actively with employers throughout the state to find appropriate jobs that match the skills of its clients, the Employment Division serves former Midland students and other adults with developmental disabilities who need training to develop the skills and behaviors necessary for employment. For more information, visit www.midlandschool.org.
About Affinity Federal Credit Union: Affinity Federal Credit Union, New Jersey’s largest credit union, is a member-owned, not-for-profit, full-service financial institution with 15 branches throughout New Jersey with more than 135,000 members from more than 2,000 businesses and organizations and total assets in excess of $2 billion. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, Affinity Federal Credit Union has been offering superior financial services with a member-oriented focus since 1935. For more information, visit www.affinityfcu.org.