Having a dream and working together to achieve those dreams was the key takeaway for Great Lakes Credit Union President and CEO Steve Bugg during a special virtual book-reading event focused on Martin Luther King Jr.
Sixteen Great Lakes Credit Union volunteers, including Bugg, read virtually via Zoom on Jan. 18 to approximately 350 third- through fifth-grade students at West Elementary School in Zion.
The event was part of the credit union’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, and it was hosted in partnership with United Way of Lake County. Additionally, the credit union donated nearly 400 books about Dr. King to the school.
Bugg said the books he read to third graders during his half-hour morning and afternoon increments focused on Dr. King’s famous 1963 speech “I Have a Dream in Washington, D.C.
“It presented insights into discourse development and the value of people working together,” Bugg said. “I think the kids I read understand the importance of Martin Luther King and working together. The third graders focused on formulating the dream and what it meant to them.”
Jasmine Taylor-Newton, deputy manager of the credit union’s Gurnee branch, said she attended the event out of sheer inspiration.
“I was inspired to be an MLK Day reader because I believe in King’s dream, and as an African American woman, being part of an event like this is a reminder of how far we’ve all come. as a people,” she said. . “I saw it was very important to share King’s dream and legacy with the children of our future.”
The challenge, of course, was the logistics and technology that facilitated the event. It would have been better to have held the event in person, Bugg said, as the credit union has done in the past at other Lake County schools, but COVID-19 prevented it.
He said the reading was a little harder to do because students were muted and could only answer their questions through Zoom’s chat feature. As a reader, Bugg had to pay attention to the book itself while watching the children and making sure they were paying attention. If their eyes were wandering, then it was time to ask a question about what they had learned so far.
“I would re-read those comments and discuss what those students said,” Bugg said. “The questions were really engaging, and depending on the age of the student, the more in-depth the questions got.”
Bobbi Selvik, community engagement manager for United Way of Lake County, said the event was an unqualified success.
“United Way of Lake County’s focus on providing early education programs and building literacy skills helps ensure that all children in Lake County have an equal opportunity to thrive,” said Selvik. “We are grateful for GLCU’s partnership as we continue to impact the lives of so many children in our community.”
Beatriz Hernandez, GLCU branch manager, said the children inspired her, but so did her employer.
“GLCU always volunteers for all types of events,” she said. “Whether it’s collecting toys for toddlers, food banks, donating school supplies, and volunteering to read to kids for MLK Day, it’s always genuine,” he said. she declared. “I have worked for different financial institutions and have never witnessed any involvement in the community. GLCU employees are always happy and willing.”