FBLA, or Future Business Leaders of America, is the largest career student business organization in the world. Annually FBLA helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business throughout the nation. Scranton FBLA Advisor Lynn Brown has been involved with the organization since 2004.
With focus on leadership development, academic competitions, educational programs, and community service, FBLA inspires students to become community-minded leaders. Annually, for five years, Scranton’s FBLA partnered with Dakota Community Bank & Trust (DCB&T) for that ‘community’ aspect. That annual relationship between the bank and the FBLA program was termed “Partnership with Business.” In 2011, as part of their Partnership with Business project, Scranton FBLA became involved with DCB&T’s Project Ignite Light pajama drive. Brown states, “We started by making blankets. In our first year, we made 11 blankets. In 2012-2013, our chapter made 16 blankets and collected 30 pairs of children’s pajamas.” The group continued to grow this program making a difference for children who have suffered abuse or neglect. “It started little but it became a really big thing for my kids.” It grew so much, that in January of 2015, Scranton FBLA constructed 50 fleece blankets in just 2.5 hours!
Not only did the Partnership with Business program show DCB&T’s strong belief in the communities they serve, but it allowed the students to fulfill their mission to provide relief to abused and neglected children in the state, to gain experience working with a community bank, and it created learning opportunities during community service.
Scranton FBLA believed in this project so much that they had taken a bus trip to see Project Ignite Light, in person, for themselves. Brown mentioned how much it impacted the kids when they got to see who they were helping and how Project Ignite Light worked. “It really hit home when one of my students went through a hard time. She was always there making blankets and she came and said ‘I got one of these. I got one of these.’ And that made it really real. She had made blankets, but here when she needed help, she was brought one of these backpacks with the blankets.”
DCB&T also financially assisted FBLA students who had qualified to go to the national conference; including three students who qualified through the Project Ignite Light – Partnership with Business project in the summer of 2014. These students brought home a fourth place trophy from nationals in Nashville, TN.
Paralleling DCB&T’s sense of community, the Scranton FBLA chapter has many service projects that they are proudly involved in. Some of those projects throughout the years have included nursing home visits to the area residents, running community benefits together with their Lion’s Club, raising funding for a local family who lost their home to a fire, and more. Their FBLA chapter consists of approximately 30 students each year. With goals of strengthening confidence in students and developing character while giving them an understanding of business, Brown had also started a smaller program with 8th graders to get them associated with FBLA a year before they reach high school.
This partnership with DCB&T extended beyond just the students supporting Project Ignite Light pajamas and blankets. Employees from the bank would often volunteer their time to speak to the students on various topics from volunteerism and community service, insurance, internet banking safety, credit card safety, and other various banking subjects. With her many years of experience as a FBLA advisor and many years working with DCB&T, Brown reflects, “You are behind them. You are going to back them. You are not just a bank. You are there. You are there when there is trouble and any time there is a real need. Dakota Community Bank & Trust is willing to come in and help you, just like your neighbor is, just like the whole community will come together in support.”
For more information on FBLA, visit: https://www.fbla-pbl.org/.
Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director