When Bobbyette moved to Columbus in 1972 to become a 5th grade teacher, her girlfriend from college gave her some advice.
“Ok. First, you’ll need a Lazarus charge card and you need to join the Credit Union,” her friend said. Bobbyette took her friend’s advice and has been a member of Education First ever since.
“What I like about the Credit Union is the better rates,” says Bobbyette. “And that as a member, the Credit Union is a part of you. You’re not just a customer, you’re a part-owner.”
Bobbyette has helped judge Education First’s annual scholarship competition for over ten years. She first became a judge when she noticed that few Columbus City School students were winning scholarships.
“I wrote a letter to the Credit Union voicing my concerns,” she said. “I felt that Columbus students deserved a shot.”
Education First agreed and began setting aside one scholarship annually for a Columbus City Schools High School student. The Credit Union also asked Bobbyette to become a judge. “I can say that the Credit Union really listened to my concerns.”
And Bobbyette’s husband Cleveland joined the Credit Union even earlier.
“It was 1968,” says Cleveland. Fresh from the Navy, he had just moved to Columbus from Alabama to work as a custodian for Columbus City Schools.
Cleveland retired as Head Custodian Supervisor and was an active member of the school worker’s union, OAPSE, serving as Vice President. Cleveland was instrumental in bringing diversity to Education First’s staff.
“In the early 70’s there were no people of color working at the Credit Union,” says Cleveland, who like Bobbyette, voiced his concerns.
“We had a meeting about it,” he says. “I said, hey we are members of this Credit Union too and we should see people of color represented in the employees.”
Education First also agreed and made it a priority to hire African American employees.
“We always recommend the Credit Union,” says Cleveland. “Whenever I would hire a new custodian for the school I would make sure to send them down to the Credit Union to open a savings account. I would tell them a Credit Union is the way to go!”