Waverly Central Schools: Partnership with IRfcu connects students with business

Waverly High School students discuss the Wolverine Den coffee shop with the school board.

WAVERLY — Several excited high school students came before the Waverly School Board this week to discuss the progress of the Wolverine Den Coffee Shop and a recent partnership between the district and the Ingersoll-Rand Federal Credit Union to set up a student branch at the high school.

Students explained that the coffee shop started as a vision to “inspire students and staff to be creative and caring towards one another by providing an artistic outlet for coffee, visual arts and more.”

They said the students who work at the coffee shop strive for a professional environment in order to learn the skills necessary for the general workforce while creating a space that is safe and inviting for students and staff.

On top of responsible business management while offering quality products, students use the proceeds of the Den for the following:

• Scholarships available for graduating seniors who have managed or worked in the Den.

• Funding various events, including the Top Ten Reception, Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, Gingerbread House Competition, WBL Advisory Board meetings and hosting Waverly Businesses Association meetings.

• Pay for and cover field trips as needed for the school community.

• Student rewards and PBIS.

• Help offset the cost of various expenses for students in need.

The Den is doing all of that while staying true to state education department health standards, as the shop is doing its own internal audit on its products.

To help grow the Den, the district has partnered with a number of businesses to supply services and products, such as Bells Coffee, Mr. Koffee, Monin and, most recently, IRFCU, which is providing the district with its point-of-service system and creating a student branch in the high school building.

Several IRFCU representatives were on hand at the meeting, including CEO Thomas Mitchell, and they helped the students explain the duties of the student branch to the board.

“The intent of the student branch program is to ensure that students know not only the many benefits of financial services, but also the many dangers involved with not being able to adequately handle one’s finances,” IRFCU officials said. “This joint effort between the school district and credit union will develop the necessary skills for students to use throughout their lives.”

“The program is also intended to teach students the basic principles and practices of the financial services industry — banking and credit unions,” officials continued. “Students will be given the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience by working at either the high school branch and/or in a cooperative work program at the main IRFCU branch. They will receive training in all credit union operations while learning specific job skills. This program offers students an opportunity to learn, participate, and work with confidence along side credit union professionals.”

Specifically. the goals of the program are to:

• Expand student knowledge of financial services, processes and products.

• Assist students with obtaining financial accounts in a controlled environment.

• Educate students on responsibly handling financial accounts.

• Educate students on the topic of credit and the importance of a credit score.

• Provide an awareness of professionalism needed in a workplace.

• Instill work ethic while improving interpersonal skills.

• Improve communication skills.

Students will also be expected to maintain professional standards in the workplace, apply and be interviewed for positions, exhibit confidentiality and perform other duties expected of a regular employee, IRFCU officials added.

This summer looks to be a key growth year for the Den and the IRFCU partnership as students and the credit union are looking to combine the coffee shop and the student branch.

A soft opening of that student branch is tentatively scheduled for September, with a grand opening slated for October.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com.

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