Embracing Kindness

Kindness. Caring. Compassion. In the fast paced and opinionated world that is 2021, it feels like these are words not used enough. Everywhere you go people are frustrated and sometimes unkind.  

That’s not true of everyone, of course, as there are still good people working to make this world a better place. Here at VCNB, we encourage our employees to follow the Golden Rule and to focus on being kind to others. That’s why we were so excited when we noticed how many offbeat holidays happening in October are dedicated to making the world a kinder place.

For example, October 1 was International Day for Older Persons. More than 60 million people ages 65 or older reside in America and, if we’re lucky, we’ll all eventually join this club of elderly Americans. As far as we’re concerned, every day is a great opportunity to show some kindness to an older person, to listen and to learn from them.

This is also Bullying Prevention and Domestic Violence Month. Any domestic violence shelter will tell you that these two issues go hand in hand. Bullying can happen at any age – on the playground or in the board room. It can happen to anyone as can domestic violence. As many as one in three women and one in ten men ages 18 and older experience domestic violence. While it’s hard to spot, chances are someone you know is living with an abuser.

 Sometimes the first step to addressing the issue is to be aware of it and to talk about it. Click here to learn about domestic violence in America and here to learn about bullying prevention.

October also addresses animal issues. It’s Adopt A Dog Month and there are days designated to recognize black cats and black dogs. Black animals are often the last adopted and the first abused thanks to silly superstitions. Animal shelters across the country are brimming with pets in desperate need of a home. Looking out for these four legged friends is a great way to bring joy into your own life while helping a creature in need.

Of course, October has long hosted Make A Difference Day, a national day of service where volunteers are encouraged to work together to do something impactful in their community. That could mean churches and 4-H Clubs or private individuals helping support community projects and things that they see simply need to be done.  

October 5 happens to be Do Something Nice Day. While it’s a pleasant sentiment on a calendar, here at VCNB we would like to think every day is a new chance to do something nice. There’s no opportunity too big or too small if it means extending kindness to another or doing something to improve the world around us.

Our employees are encouraged and even rewarded for their community spirit when they volunteer. In fact, our employees give hundreds of hours of their time every year, helping out wherever they can. They serve on boards like domestic violence shelters and the local chamber of commerce. They cuddle rabbits and walk dogs for animal shelters, pick up litter and help with distribution day at the local food pantry.

The bank also invests over $300,000 a year in sponsorships, fair animals, customer appreciation days, financial literacy, school sports teams, Chamber activities, and a host of causes in our communities.  We do this because we understand the value of investing in our communities and the people who call them home.

Our Core Values say that we will be community minded and that we will have the integrity to do the right thing – even when no one is looking. We encourage you to do the same and to seek out ways to make the world around you a little better. Money is great but sometimes what’s more important is a kind word to a friend, a little patience with that frazzled fast food worker, or a simple thank you to people who have helped you. Provide a home to a pet in need, stop to see an elderly neighbor or offer a shoulder to someone who is struggling.

There are many ways to help make our world brighter. You never know the ripple effect it may have and how your one small action could manifest into something far bigger than intended.

Embrace Your Community

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Our world has changed a lot in the last few weeks. Who knew that concepts like social distancing and press conferences by the governor would be the thing everyone is talking about today? While non essential workers have been sent home and many essential employees are putting in extra hours, one thing hasn’t changed – we are still a community.

All of us here at VCNB are proud to work for a community bank and to be an essential part of your lives. We miss having customers in our lobbies and look forward to the day that it’s safe to return to business as usual. Meanwhile, we’ve been thinking of ways to be positively involved in our communities while maintaining a safe distance.

Here’s some inspiration but we bet you have more ideas!

Phone a friend – Social distance doesn’t mean social isolation. You may not be able to go visit your neighbor but you can give them a ring to chat a while. Connect with friends who you haven’t seen or call that cousin you’ve been missing at reunions. Hearing a friendly voice will brighten your day!

Support those restaurants – Many of our restaurants are trying to stay open and to keep their employees at work. You can’t dine in but you can order carryout or hit the drive-thru. Many are even doing curbside service so you don’t have to leave your car!

Shop local – We encourage you to stay home. However, if you do need to venture out for supplies, be sure to support the businesses in your neighborhood. Do you have a favorite small business that doesn’t sell essential goods? Do they have a website? Can you contact them for a gift card? Support them today so they’ll be here for you later.

Help others – Many people are hurting today. Between job losses and increased costs for childcare, lots of our neighbors could use a helping hand. If you’re in a position to help there are many ways – donate to a food pantry, pick up groceries for an elderly person, or share your supplies with the mom who is at home with her kiddos all day. Mowing season will be here soon. Send your teens to do yard work for a disabled neighbor. Look around and see who could use a boost!

Be nice to others – Lots of people you see working in public are tired and they are scared that they’ll take germs home to those they love. Smile, be patient, be kind. We’re all in this together!

Whatever you do, be sure to practice safe social distancing so that you and everyone around you can stay healthy. Remember – spread cheer, not germs!