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Park Side CU Rewards Students with Unique Scholarships

Many credit unions offer scholarships, but Park Side CU has come up with a unique twist. Last year, the credit union developed an annual scholarship program that awards high school students who "show excellence as unique individuals" and are Park Side members. And, here's the twist: the seven students who receive the $1,000 scholarships each year don't have to use it for college. "Too many scholarships are academic in nature and rigorous in requirements," explains Josh Kroll, Park Side's VP of marketing. "We wanted to reward students no matter their pursuit, as long as they are passionate about it." As part of their application, students write a 300-word essay that answers one of four questions:

  • How have you proven to be better today than yesterday?
  • How do you elevate the atmosphere around you?
  • What are some ways in which you take pleasure in creativity?
  • How would you make banking fun?

Each of these is, Josh says, "essentially a core value here at Park Side." Plus, he notes, reading the essays offers credit union staff an "amazing" opportunity to "source some ideas from our young members." Staff are on board (11 immediately volunteered to be part of the selection committee!) and teachers in the community are encouraging their students to apply. What a great way to reach out to the youth of western Montana and recognize their smarts, innovation, and creative passion ... while also spreading word of the #CUDifference!


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