MELISSA GAMBLE LOVES working with children.
Even when she was a child herself, she continually looked for opportunities to help other children.
“I was always trying to help take care of my little cousins, nieces, and nephews. I volunteered at an afterschool program when I was in middle school so that I could help younger children with their homework. I was just born that way,” says Gamble, an executive assistant at Sun center Federal credit Union in LaGrange, Ohio.
When Gamble interviewed for her position in 2013, she was told that Sun center Federal was looking for someone to help start a “student-run credit union.” With an educational background in mathematics and teaching, Gamble says “it sounded like a perfect fit.”
“It was something that drew me toward the job opportunity, and once I learned more about the credit union philosophy of people helping people, I was hooked," she says.
When she wasn’t on the teller line, Gamble researched and visited other student-run branches. She then pitched the project to the Keystone Local School District, recruited student employees, and opened Cats Credit Union—named after the school’s mascot, the Wildcats.
Students learned to open new accounts, take deposits, and make withdrawals, as well as how to work with a database, use dual verification to prevent errors, and how to market their credit union to their peers.
“Young people are ready to learn, but they need a champion who encourages their development,” Gamble says.
“The most important take-away is twofold: financial responsibility and the credit union philosophy of people helping people. These will stick with them for their entire lives, and hopefully one day they’ll pass them along to future generations,” Gamble says.
In addition to her educational background, Gamble’s childhood experiences molded her into the person she is today. “My mom inspired me from a young age,” Gamble says. “She was always going out of her way to help someone else, even when it was difficult. She was sick for a long time, and even when she was in pain, I still saw her kind, giving spirit. I really learned that if you’re not putting your whole heart into what you’re doing, you’re not doing it right.”