Stories of HOPE – Celeste O’Brien

Celeste O’Brien describes herself as an entrepreneur by heart and passion. She has been a massage therapist for eleven years now and works at Symmetry360 Massage, which she owns along with her business partner, Kina. Symmetry360 Massage began with just Kina and a lone massage room in a Pilates studio. “We had a dream to create a company that was supportive and nurturing to massage therapists,” Celeste explains, “helping to learn and grown within their careers. We also felt, and still feel strongly, that massage helps to reconnect people to the most important thing there is: our bodies.” With these goals in mind, their business has been open for six years and now has three locations and forty employees. They hope to continue expanding and impacting the world in a positive way.

Stories of HOPE – Nicolette Szonday

In 1986, Nicolette Szonday left Hungary with her family as political refugees. Because of how her mother and grandparents were saved, protected and fed by American soldiers during World War II, Nicolette’s family chose to move to America out of the many countries willing to take them in. Starting over was tough, but Nicolette used her Small Business Accounting Certificate and BA to stay on track. She has worked in the financial field for the past fifteen years, working for Bank of America and now for JP Morgan Chase as a Sr. Specialist experienced in handling domestic and international clients with their retail and credit card accounts. Nicolette is also currently in training to become a lender with Chase Credit Card Services in Wilmington, DE.

Stories of HOPE – Marcus Chery

Marcus Chery is from Houston, Texas, and is the youngest of three with an older brother and sister. He is currently in school studying Social Work. After his schooling is completed, Marcus hopes to become a licensed Social Worker.

Stories of HOPE – Francis Lau

Francis Lau comes from a country where the literacy rate is low and the people relatively poor. “I was lucky enough to have higher education with help from various sources to complete my Bachelor and Master degrees in America,” he states, “I definitely can see the difference being educated.” With this background, and after having spent over thirty years in the banking industry, with a current position as Vice President and Area Manager for First Bank, Francis feels a desire to invest in the community. “I learned, I gained and benefited a lot from the community and it is time to give back,” he says. Coupled with his passion, First Bank is a great match for Francis. “First Bank is very conscientious in encouraging and supporting its employees helping out in the community and with my self intents,” he explains.

Stories of HOPE – Scott Pickett

Scott Pickett has a long history in the business and finance world. He studied finance and real estate at the Wharton School of Business and played for the University of Pennsylvania football team. After graduation, he worked for Thomas Properties Group and for a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Company. After many hours of hard work and long hours, Scott currently serves as the Vice President of Transactions for Post Investment Group, which is a real estate investment company that oversees approximately 11, 000 units nationwide.

Stories of HOPE: Robin Haynes

A Baltimore, Maryland native, Robin Haynes understands the growing needs for basic financial literacy to be taught in a way that can be understood by everyone. As a result of her Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Morgan State University, and having worked in the financial industry for over a decade, Robin has a passion for helping others succeed financially not only by teaching the basics of finance, but also by making sure that there is a thorough understanding of financial concepts and how they are applied to daily life. With this passion in mind, Robin’s first published project, entitled “The Fundamentals of Finances – Applied to Everyday Living,” was designed to help readers navigate the complicated, and sometimes frightening, world of finances. Currently, she is preparing to obtain her Certified Financial Planning Certificate.

Stories of HOPE: Candise Scow

Candise Scow never gave banking much thought when she was younger. CandiseScow“I actually wanted to become a Chef,” Candise states. However, her future had other plans. It all began at a small bagel shop where she worked. The branch manager of a local bank would come in about three times a week and order the exact same thing every time. Candise took notice of this and, upon seeing the manager pull up, she would have the order ready and waiting.

Stories of HOPE: David Mooney

David Mooney is based in Chicago, Illinois. As President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union, the sixth largest credit union in the United States, Mooney works to ensure that Alliant provides a high value benefit to employees and members of over 150 companies and associations. Prior to becoming Alliant’s CEO, David held a number of executive positions at JP Morgan Chase and its predecessor banks.

Stories of HOPE: Brian Scrip

Brian Scrip is not a superstar. At least, not according to him. “I am just a person who is lucky enough to be able to teach financial literacy to kids and help Operation HOPE,” he says. It’s a win-win scenario for Brian.

Doing Good is Good for You

Finding ways for people to feel better, improve their moods and reduce stress has become a billion dollar industry. You can buy medicine, sign up for yoga classes or enlist a stress coach. I have a much easier and cost effective idea. VOLUNTEER!

BOOF Volunteers inspire students at Oakland High

By Gregory Collins, Program Manager, Banking on Our Future Oakland HOPE Financial Dignity Center in Oakland partnered with Waypoint Homes to host a Banking on Our Future event August 2nd. It was in support of the Credit Recovery Program at Oakland high school. Banking on Our Future was proud to provide the curriculum taught by Waypoint Homes volunteers. The kids had the opportunity to discuss anything they wanted in...

Volunteering Works for HOPE

There are many different reasons why people volunteer. First and foremost, volunteering provides the satisfaction of offering a helping hand, but there are many other benefits of volunteering.

Join Operation HOPE and the Presidential Inaugural Committee for National Day of Service Weekend Celebrations on the National Mall

On Saturday, January 19, 2013 Operation HOPE along with the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service will be observing the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service. HOPE Volunteers from across the country will descend on the nation’s capital to share information on how to help strengthen communities and create and sustain opportunities for all Americans.

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