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CEO's Corner: Teaching My Children to Serve Our Community Through Volunteer Work


I’m proud to work at a place that takes our corporate values to heart. Outside of work, so many of our staff donate their time, skills, and money to great nonprofits here in the Puget Sound Region and around the world. In fact, at our headquarters this year, we added a large chalkboard called the ‘Prosper Wall’. Each quarter, we write a new question on the wall for staff to share their thoughtful personal stories, experiences, and insights with one another. To kick off the New Year, we asked, “How Will You Give Back to Your Community in 2018?” I was encouraged by the responses we got. My own answer was to “Volunteer with YWCA & United Way and include my daughter to teach her to care for others.”

While reading other responses on our Prosper Wall, I couldn’t help but reflect on the experiences I’ve had that inspire me to give back. Growing up in a single-parent household, I did not have a father figure to follow. My mother worked hard to make ends meet and to support herself and her two sons. There was little time for her to think about or participate in “giving back to our community.” She did her best.

Richard Romero, CEO, with his daughter

As a husband, father, and CEO of Seattle Credit Union, I find it important to combine my personal values with my work values. To that end, I have placed a focus on making sure Seattle Credit Union is truly a “Partner in Seattle’s Growth and Prosperity”. I won’t lie, this takes a great deal of time, energy, persistence, and dedication. I often contemplate how we can make the greatest impact on our community, and I believe the answer starts with our children and younger generations.

I recently had the opportunity to make good on the commitment I wrote on Seattle Credit Union’s Prosper Wall at United Way's annual Community Resource Exchange. I was able to combine service to our community and introduce my children to an event that will influence their outlook on charity, enlighten them about homelessness, and shape their future.

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about how the experience would impact my children both positive and negative. My worry was overridden by my belief that it’s better for our children to witness the real world and the challenges so many face. This is how they grow into empathetic adults. This is how we spark real change.

At the event my children witnessed a myriad of services provided to individuals impacted by homelessness. They were able to see people helping people. People cutting hair, washing feet, treating pets, providing clothes, backpacks and other essentials. My son and daughter handed out desserts at the end of the food line and were met by some very friendly and thankful people in need, as well as some colorful characters. I was proud of both of them as they did not shy away or judge people based on their appearance or situation. It was wondrous.

This is my humble example of how I give back to our community. By volunteering my time with United Way and by exposing my children to the challenges people face in our very own community. My hope is that these activities make an impact on the people United Way serves and that the experience makes my children caring, active members of our community.

Read the original article here on Richard's LinkedIn page.

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