State Bank Helps Lake Shore Students Build for the Future
(St. Clair Shores, Mich.) March 14, 2012
- For almost a century, First State Bank (FSB) has played a major role
in helping its Macomb County customers and communities build for the future.
Today, the proof can be seen inside a 1959 ranch house in St. Clair Shores, a
property sold by the bank to the Lake Shore Public School District for $1.
From basement to attic, more
than a dozen passionate high school juniors and seniors are performing an
extreme makeover on the Parkway Street home. It’s a project that has been on
one man’s drawing board for a long time.
“In reality, with this
economy, not all kids will be going off to college. I wanted to provide them
with skills they could use the rest of their lives,” said Lake Shore Schools
Superintendent Chris Loria, who developed and inaugurated the hands-on Building
Renovations class. The problem: finding an appropriate place for students to
learn carpentry, electricity, plumbing, and heating and cooling.
“I met with other banks
about obtaining a loan to purchase a foreclosed home that could be restored -
and most of them just chuckled,” recalled Loria. “I knew Kathleen Zenisek,
Marketing Director at First State Bank, who is a strong advocate for local
businesses, and I approached her with my idea at a local fundraiser.” As
Zenisek listened, she realized that perhaps First State Bank could back the
district with something even more than a loan. And, in typical FSB
roll-up-your-sleeves fashion, she put the wheels in motion within the bank.
Soon after, Chief Risk Officer, Bill Pilkington began discussions with Loria –
not about a loan, but rather about donating a home to the district for $1.
Loria credits First State Bank for believing in him and the program, “It just
wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
“It had just come into our
inventory,” Zenisek said of the 1,441 square foot dwelling. “I saw it when we
donated it—it was scary due to its odd rustic decor.” While in need of some
gutting and repair, the home proved to be perfect for the students’ undertaking.
And while the framing goes in and the drywall goes up, so does the outlook in
the neighborhood, with offers to pitch in with yard maintenance. “It’s projects
like these that really pull the community together,” said Zenisek. “Whether
we’re donating recycling bins or raising donations for the Macomb Food Bank, we
find that the spirit of giving back becomes contagious when we’re helping our
own friends and neighbors.”
Under the tutelage of
instructor Chris Mazzola, who had his own home renovation business for 20 years
before he began teaching seven years ago, the class has been a resounding
success. Just ask his students. “I fell in love with it,” said senior Liz
Talbot with pride and enthusiasm. The only female in the class, she explains,
“I like figuring out how things work and being able to fix them. This class is
amazing; I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.”
As a result of its
popularity, the school plans to add a “Powder Puff Home Renovations” class next
year, geared towards female students who might be nervous in a co-ed setting,
to give them skills in a trade normally considered male. “It’s already filled
with requests,” reports Loria. “We might have to add a second class. It’s all
about creating opportunities for our students to learn.”
In February, Loria received
the Winners’ Circle Award from the Michigan Association of School
Administrators, in recognition of his leadership in launching “an effective
program that can be replicated in other districts.”
And First State Bank will be
ready, according to Kathleen Zenisek. “When they’re done with this house,” she
adds, “we’ll start planning for the next project.”
First State Bank is headquartered in St.
Clair Shores, Michigan. With over 94 years of service and $564 million in assets, First State Bank
serves Macomb County with 11 branch offices located in Chesterfield Township,
Clinton Township, Eastpointe, Macomb Township, Richmond, St. Clair Shores,
Sterling Heights, Washington Township, and a Loan Center in Sterling Heights.
For more information, please visit www.thefsb.com or call 866-372-1275.