Passionate Credit Union Advocates Come Together For an Evening of Empathy

Attendees took a deep dive in the lives of members’ daily struggles and how to best offer the support they need.

8/23/2019

Sarah Buck is the President of the Cascadia Chapter of Credit Unions and Training Coordinator and Marketing Assistant at USAgencies Credit Union. Here she shares a recap of the Chapter’s recent Life Simulation event, held Aug. 15 in Portland.

The life simulation was an event where nearly 60 credit union professionals, representing 15 credit unions and the Northwest Credit Union Association, came together to participate in and volunteer for our exercise. Attendees took a deep dive in the lives of members who are not only struggling financially, but also mentally and emotionally with the stress of their daily struggles of just trying to survive.

Carmen Vigil, Director of Cooperative Momentum at NWCUA, who facilitated the event said, “It was such a privilege to be a part of the Cascadia Chapter’s life simulation. The exercise is all about building empathy and understanding our unique role and opportunity as service oriented credit unions, which is a fantastic fit for a chapter event. It was amazing to see volunteers come together from across the region to make this event happen. The Cascadia Chapter’s impressive results are a shining example of what is possible when vision and enthusiasm meet the credit union cooperative spirit!”

Once the simulation was over, attendees and volunteers came back together as a group and to discuss ideas and opportunities for credit unions to better serve our members.

“We can be that light in the members day that lets them know they are not alone. We can reach into the community as advocates recognizing their worth and helping to restore their view of themselves,” said David Sweetman, an attendee from Rivermark Community Credit Union. “People are greater than their circumstances and if we can alter those circumstances through lending or assistance with knowledge, available resources and more. We can seed in them the hope that will help them to grow strong and true.”

Being able to provide this experience for credit unions was a humbling and honoring experience. We truly believe those who selflessly dedicated their evenings to learn and grow with us walked away with a deeper capability for compassion and empathy, and were even more rooted in the philosophy of People Helping People.