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LAFCU Awards $5,000 in Scholarships And Donates $1,000 to Haven House

LANSING, Mich. — LAFCU has awarded $5,000 in scholarships to two college-bound high school seniors through the credit union’s 2019 Write to Educate Essay Contest. 

Daisy Manzer, DeWitt, and Julia Pate, Lapeer, won based on their one-page essays about diversity. For the community component of the contest, Manzer and Pate are each directing a $500 donation from LAFCU, a total of $1,000, to Haven House. The East Lansing nonprofit provides emergency housing and support services for one- and two-parent families with children.

“The LAFCU Write to Educate Essay Contest focuses on values important for our next generation of leaders,” said Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU chief marketing officer. “These young women are role models. They have learned that recognition from just one person can be the catalyst to positively change a person’s life and strengthen a community.”

The essay contest provides two $2,500 college scholarships to high school seniors and asks each winner to select a charity to receive a $500 LAFCU donation.

Applicants did not need to be LAFCU members, but must be attending high school in Michigan, LAFCU’s service territory. The Lansing State Journal is the contest’s community sponsor.

Daisy Manzer, daughter of Brandon Manzer, will study business at Lansing Community College, Lansing, with plans to own her own business.

In her essay, the DeWitt High School senior wrote about the experience of helping organize and participating in a workshop in fall 2018 to identify ways to promote diversity. From that event, Manzer realized the importance of diversity in any collective.

“Valuing diversity means to acknowledge the differences between us and to realize it’s those differences that define our strengths,” she said. “With diversity, innovation and creativity thrive.”

More than 100 students and teachers from the high school and DeWitt Middle School participated in the Empathy and Inclusion Workshop, which the school plans to present again fall 2019.

Julia Pate, daughter of Patrick and Kathy Pate, will pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Baker College’s Owosso campus. She knew at a young age she wanted a career in the health field that provided daily challenges and positively impacted others.

In her essay, Pate wrote about how working at a fast food restaurant immersed the home-schooled student into a culturally fluent group and opened her eyes to prejudice.

“I saw customers refuse service based on the color of the server’s skin,” she recalled. “And, I felt my own initial judgement based on an individual’s criminal record. The two-year experience has better prepared me to embrace diversity at college and to not stay on the sidelines when an injustice is made.

“We are equal in heart and soul, and I will strive to create a welcoming and diverse environment as our nation’s founders envisioned.”

The winning essays are online at

Haven House helps families that are homeless prepare for permanent housing by developing and promoting self-sufficiency, stability and financial responsibility. It is one of a few shelters in mid-Michigan that allow entire families to stay together.


Chartered in 1936, LAFCU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative open for membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Michigan and to businesses and other entities located in Michigan. The credit union serves more than 65,000 members and holds nearly $725 million in assets. LAFCU offers a comprehensive range of financial products and services as well as an expanding complement of financial technology solutions. Members enjoy benefits such as low fees, low interest rates on loans, high yields on savings, discounts, knowledgeable employees and nationwide access to fee-free ATMs and ITMs. A recipient of the national Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award for credit unions, LAFCU enriches the communities it serves by supporting many organizations and causes. To learn more about LAFCU, call 800.748.0228 or visit


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