How FinLocker is Making a Difference in Our Communities

Make A Difference Day volunteers

While FinLocker is based in St Louis, several in our team live in other cities. Learn how five team members are making a difference in their communities by volunteering with non-profit organizations in their city.

A.J. Trujillo volunteers with Tenth Life Cat Rescue, a St Louis animal shelter founded in 2009. Tenth Life’s mission is to provide veterinary care and adoptive placement to stray, injured, newborn, and abandoned cats, prioritizing those with special needs.

Tenth Life Cat is also a community resource center, offering behavioral programs, an advice phone line, networking, and educational outreach. Through its foster guardian program, Tenth Life Rescue strives to provide a safe space for cats in preparation for adoption into a permanent home.

Since 2012, A.J.’s volunteer involvement has spanned onsite reception, cat behavior counseling, fundraising, and fostering. Her emphasis in the last several years has been fostering neonate, under-socialized, or injured kittens.

Ismail Adiputra volunteer with Workday St. Louis, a non-profit ministry of Restore St. Louis, a community outreach program of New City Fellowship. Workday St. Louis brings together volunteers from local churches, colleges, small businesses, and other sectors of the city to serve senior citizens, low-income or physically disabled homeowners, new immigrants, and children in need of safe spaces to play in the summer. Volunteers of Workday St. Louis provide home repairs and companionship and develop personal connections with their Workday neighbors.

Ismail’s involvement with Workday St. Louis includes working on bathroom renovations, building wheelchair ramps, and other necessary home repairs. As the Covid pandemic has restricted many renovations, he has been updating and managing the Workday St. Louis website.

Chris Hazen volunteers with Son of a Saint, a non-profit organization based in New Orleans, LA. Son of a Saint’s mission is to transform the lives of fatherless boys through mentorship, emotional support, development of life skills, exposure to constructive experiences, and formation of positive, lasting peer-to-peer relationships. 

Son of a Saint’s program is centered on building trust and creating a welcoming, inclusive, and safe space for the fatherless young men that we serve. Through inclusive and equitable treatment, the program gives its mentees opportunities, a sense of brotherhood, and a supportive community. Son of a Saint recognizes that human differences foster opportunities to learn from the experiences of others, so mentees representing all backgrounds, circumstances, and identities are accepted.

Chris is a volunteer mentor for Son of a Saint and has a dedicated mentee with whom he regularly spends quality time. Chris also helps coach the Son of a Saint flag football team and regularly attends events hosted by Son of a Saint for the boys in the program.

Prabhakar Bhogaraju (PB) and his family volunteer at the Dulles South Food Pantry (DSFP) in Loudoun County, VA, a community-based multi-faith food pantry that provides nutritious food, personal supplies, and other services to those in need in Dulles South and the surrounding area, regardless of income, faith or other criteria. While Loudoun County, VA, is one of the wealthier counties in the United States, the area has many residents that are food insecure. A majority volunteer-led organization, with the generosity of sponsors and the community, DFSP was able to support 22,664 guest visits to the pantry, distributing over 490,000 lbs. of food and 11,248 lbs. of food to local school partners in 2020. 

The DSFP pantry has three primary programs:

  • Weekly food distribution, when guests visit DSFP by appointment and select groceries and toiletries for their needs,
  • The Backpack Buddies program provides supplemental weekend food packs to local schools for school kids to take home, and
  • Through the Self-Sufficiency program, DSFP staff provides educational, job training, and placement support for pantry guests to help them get back on their feet.

PB is on two of the key fundraising efforts for DSFP – the Grants Team and the Annual Charity Golf Tournament Planning Committee. Together these efforts raise funds for DSFP to support food purchases and operations support. He also serves on the Board of Directors, contributing to strategic planning and oversight functions. DSFP has a small but committed and resourceful staff who do whatever it takes to keep the light on and be there for those in need…..federal government furloughs, hurricanes, Covid-19, reconstruction/expansion, and more. Come what may, the DFSP team makes sure the Pantry stays operational and ready to serve.

Brian Vieaux volunteers with the Downtown Boxing Gym, a non-profit youth program in Detroit, Michigan, currently serving over 150 students aged between 8 and 18. As an active board member, Brian’s focus is to spread awareness of the positive impact this youth program has on its students and uses his business network to encourage contributions that will allow the organization to serve more students. Currently, the youth program has over 1,300 students on its waiting list.

Khali Sweeney founded the Downtown Boxing Gym in 2007, with the mission to create a positive and supportive environment for students through various growth opportunities. DBG is improving the graduation rates in Detroit by bringing in students from 30 different zip codes at 57 schools across the city. Detroit’s high school graduation rate was 21.7% in 2006, the year before DBG was founded. Since the founding of DBG, the free program has had a 100% graduation rate. 

In this valuable community program, the Downtown Boxing Gym offers education, athletics, and mentorship to ensure students have the tools to succeed in school and life. Students receive academic assistance through after-school tutoring, course interventions, and frequent progress measurements. Students are encouraged to participate in various recreational activities to lead a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, they receive nutritious meals and health exams to ensure their wellness. Students grow through enrichment programs, such as art, math, science, and computer lab. DBG gives students socio-emotional skills through mentorship and peer support and provides opportunities to give back through community service. DBG also provides college and career guidance to older students.

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