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Opportunity for Interns with Disabilities - Kessler Foundation BEST Pilot Program

  • Published: 2010-10-22 - Contact: First Financial FCU
  • Synopsis: The BEST Program is funded by the Kessler Foundation and works with the Federation of Cooperative Credit Unions Allies Inc. and the National Disability Institute.

Main Document

WALL, N.J., First Financial Federal Credit Union provided an opportunity for two interns with disabilities to gain work experience in the financial sector through Kessler Foundation's BEST Pilot Program this past summer.

First Financial Federal Credit Union was fortunate enough to work with two of the "BEST" interns - literally, during the summer of 2010. Interns Joshua Stanlaw of Columbus, New Jersey, and Jose Del Valle, of Plainsboro, New Jersey, were a strong asset to the Credit Union this summer and were also participants in the BEST Pilot Project. The BEST Program is funded entirely by the Kessler Foundation and works in conjunction with the Federation of Cooperative Credit Unions, Allies Inc., and the National Disability Institute.

Stanlaw enjoyed working with the Marketing, Human Resources, and Accounting Departments at First Financial. When asked what he liked most about his internship experience, Josh replied that it was great getting to know everyone at the Credit Union and that he liked working in and seeing the different areas of the Credit Union's Corporate Office. He mentioned his internship opened his eyes to the fact that Credit Unions are not-for-profit, offer all the same products as a bank would - from Savings Accounts to various types of loans, and that there's a Board of Directors and a staff who works with and listens to the Credit Union's members. Stanlaw studied sociology and psychology at Mercer County Community College. He enjoys writing, traveling, music, he ran cross country track, and he is good with numbers. Stanlaw also enjoys watching sports - especially the New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils. He feels that everything in life can be attributed to the lyrics of his favorite Beatles song - "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Del Valle enjoyed working in First Financial's Quality Assurance, Business Development, and Marketing Departments during his internship experience. He also assisted at the Credit Union's Neptune Branch and was able to speak Spanish and translate a conversation between a member and the branch employees to resolve an issue during one of his internship days. One thing Del Valle learned about Credit Unions through this experience was that "they are more for the people - especially in today's economy, and the banks are not lending and you have a better chance to get a loan with a better interest rate at a Credit Union." He attended Ramapo College and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing with a Minor in Management. Jose enjoys traveling, New York pizza, and sports. Not only does he attend at least 20 Yankee games per year, he has represented the United States in the wheelchair sporting competitions of track and quad rugby. His resume includes some previous baseball experience - he was once even drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Del Valle has been sky diving at a height of 15,000 feet since 1994. His motto in life is to "live each day to the fullest."

While it appears that both Josh and Jose learned a lot from their internship experiences, they really taught the First Financial staff they worked with a great deal as well, and truly became a part of the First Financial family through the program.

First Financial Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative whose goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability, thus enriching the quality of our Members' lifestyles. Our vision is to be a long-term financial partner with our Members.

To visit First Financial online - go to, or check us out on,, and You can also stop into any branch, or call us at 866.750.0100.


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