Saint Mary’s College welcomed a variety of young faces to campus to celebrate Little Sibs Weekend with several days of circus-themed activities. “I brought my brother to Little Sibs last year, and I really wanted to be a part of it this year,” sophomore Chloe Derank, co-chair of Special Events for the Residence Hall Association (RHA), said. “I was reading ‘Water for Elephants,’ and I was like, ‘We should have a circus!’ and that’s what we ended up picking.” The weekend was an opportunity for Saint Mary’s students to share their campus with younger siblings and relatives, including spending a night in the residence halls. Events began with registration at 5 p.m. on Friday, where participants received a t-shirt that displayed the circus theme. The group ate s’mores and played board games in Regina Friday evening, Derank said. Derank said Saturday’s circus in Regina North Lounge drew the largest crowd. She estimated about 120 siblings showed up, accompanied by around 75 Saint Mary’s hosts. “From 9 [a.m.] to 12 [p.m.] we had a circus with a bunch of different games, and [the siblings] could get prizes and snacks,” Derank said. “We had this game called ‘Spray Away’ … and I think that was probably the biggest hit.” Sophomore Kaitie Maierhofer coordinated “Spray Away,” a game that allowed the younger siblings to squirt water at her. She also hosted her own siblings for the weekend. “‘Spray Away’ went really well,” she said. “I don’t know if [the siblings] enjoyed squirting me or the balls more, but it worked out.” Other attractions included magic shows, a temporary-tattoo parlor, a photo booth and slushies, first-year Maureen Hutchinson, fellow RHA Special Events co-chair, said. In the afternoon, siblings had the opportunity to make their own Chex Mix and color Easter-themed coloring pictures for arts and crafts, Hutchinson said. After, the group visited Dance Marathon, a dance-themed fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in the Angela Athletic Facility. “We did a scavenger hunt through there with [the siblings], and got to see all the fun stuff,” Derank said. Saturday’s activities concluded with an evening showing of the DreamWorks picture “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” The weekend ended Sunday morning with an obstacle course for the siblings to play on. “It was really fun,” Maierhofer said. “In my personal experience, [it was] better than last year. My sister had more fun this year than she did last year.” Derank said her participation in last year’s event inspired her to become involved with planning this year’s weekend. “A lot of the ideas for things came from Pinterest,” Hutchinson said. “The crafts [especially].” Little Sibs Weekend accommodated visitors ranging from around one year old to 18 years old, Derank said. “I think we did a pretty good job [of entertaining with that age range],” she said. “I think the circus was able to do that a lot.” Maierhofer said she and her sister enjoyed the flexibility of the weekend. “It works out well, knowing that you can do all of the activities, or just have your sibling come out and just [enjoy the weekend] with them,” Maierhofer said. Despite the inevitable stress involved with planning, Derank and Hutchinson said they felt the success of the weekend was worth it. “The best part was a little kid, probably 3 or 4, [getting] his T-shirt at registration,” Derank said. “His sister held up the shirt … and he got so excited because there was a circus animal on it … and that was just the best moment.”
89SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Shazia Manus At AdvantEdge Analtyics, Shazia Manus applies a futurist view to the field of analytics, helping credit unions discover new possibilities for exceptional member experiences. Prior to joining CUNA Mutual Group … Web: advantedgeanalytics.com Details Three practical methods for injecting financial support into the lives of promising young women across the globe are scholarship, microfinance and equal pay. Each of these approaches is already helping advance female leaders to deserving success. With more involvement from the credit union movement, this advancement will continue – both here in the U.S. and globally.ScholarshipFinancial assistance not only helps a deserving female get to college; it can also help young women pursue a career in law, medicine or other advanced-degree professions they may not otherwise be able to afford. What’s more, scholarships awarded to women present a better return on investment, as women are more likely than men to complete college and attend graduate school. Without the burden of student loans, these women can more readily leverage the income generated by higher-level careers to help finance the next generation of college graduates.For many young women, scholarships represent more than money. As one young woman studying to be a nurse explained, they also build confidence and a sense of community responsibility: “It wasn’t just the financial help; their support gave me hope, knowing there were people I didn’t know who believed in me, and I wasn’t going to let them down.”What credit union leaders can do: Explore ways to develop or support scholarship programs for up-and-coming female leaders, social entrepreneurs and others who have the potential to reshape their corners of the world.MicrofinanceMicrofinance is a word used to describe broad financial services for entrepreneurs and others lacking access to traditional credit and other banking services. Microcredit is among these services, and with loans as low as $125, it has proven to be life changing in many parts of the world.The beauty of microfinance is the beneficiary decides how to put the funds to the most impactful use. The Women’s Microfinance Initiative (WMI) explains it best: “While third-party institutional aid programs that try to dictate development in emerging nations from the top down have historically failed, microfinance has the promise of promoting in-country development from the bottom up. The key is focusing on improving the capacity of motivated local populations – the very people who are most vested in promoting long-term, lasting economic improvements in their families, communities and countries.”What credit union leaders can do: Look for opportunities to invest in credit union development and microfinance institutions (MFIs). Such an investment may be an altruistic effort aimed at empowering more women; it may also provide a financial return.Equal pay When women earn more, they are empowered to save more. As Sallie Krawcheck, formerMerrill Lynch and Smith Barney CEO and current chair of Ellevate Network, has said, “The retirement savings crisis is also a woman’s crisis.”Today, women retire with two-thirds the savings of men, yet they live six to eight years longer. Naturally, this leads to higher medical costs during a time of their life when 80 percent of women are single. “And it may actually be getting worse,” writes Krawcheck. “Because retirement savings tend to be driven by lifetime wages, we may be moving in the wrong direction, as women’s labor force participation declines.”What credit union can do: Conduct regular salary audits to proactively monitor and solve any gender-based pay differences that may exist within your organizations.ConclusionAnne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, said, “The smartest thing you can ever do is to constantly ask questions.” Ask what role you and your organization can play in the formation of scholarship, microfinance and equal pay initiatives. But don’t stop there. Allow your curiosity free reign. Ask yourself what you – an ambitious individual full of your own potential – need and then strive to meet that need for others. The results will be cumulative, and more women in the credit union movement will achieve their dreams, ultimately improving the financial lives of more people around the world.This article is an excerpt from a white paper co-authored by Shazia Manus, CEO of TMG (The Members Group) and Calyn Ostrowski, Worldwide Foundation Executive Director, World Council of Credit Unions. The full paper can be found here.