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Members From Bay Federal CU and Greater Nevada CU Receive $500 Scholarships for College

July 23, 2008 - The California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network (CNYIN), a volunteer organization supported by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, has awarded $500 scholarships to three high school and college students from California and Nevada for winning entries in the Network’s annual essay contest.

Jade Ashley Gelskey of Ely, NV; Branden Karlen, 18, of Salinas, CA; and Emily Morelli, 18, of Watsonville, CA each received a scholarship for their essays on the topic, “What can you or your credit union do to encourage today’s youth to join and take advantage of credit union products and services?”

“This year’s winning essays offered a variety of ways credit unions can impact the lives of young people and their families,” said Marissa Lott, California and Nevada Youth Involvement Board chairman, and marketing specialist for Farmers Insurance Group Federal Credit Union in Los Angeles, CA.

Gelskey is a member of Greater Nevada Federal Credit Union in Ely, NV. She is attending Southern Utah University pursuing a degree in arts/graphic design. She believes it’s important for credit unions to tell their story.  “I think the best thing any credit union can do is get their information out into the public sphere so more people can see what they can really gain by joining,” she wrote in her essay.

Branden Karleen and Emily Morelli are both members of Bay Federal Credit Union in Capitola, CA. Karleen graduated from Palma High School, and will be attending the University of California, Los Angeles. He plans to pursue a degree in biology. He believes being a credit union member helps young adults become better prepared financially. “I am proud to be a credit union member and never miss an opportunity to encourage my peers to open their own account,” he said.

Morelli graduated from Monte Vista Christian High School, and will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in journalism. She wrote in her essay: “The most effective way to encourage teens to join credit unions is through testimony from trusted friends.”

Entrants in the essay competition must be no older than 25; with a minimum status of a high school senior; be in good standing with their credit union; and be in good standing with their high school, college, university, or trade school. They must also submit a one-page resume of extracurricular activities or community service.

The CNYIN board scores essays according to clarity of expression, composition, content, and creativity, and involvement in community service or extracurricular activities. Scholarships must be used in conjunction with continuing education at any accredited college, university, or trade school.

The CNYIN works to increase the financial literacy of youth in California and Nevada through classroom presentations and other means. For more information about the CNYIN, contact Catherine Arra at 800.472.1702, ext. 3486, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, the League provides information, education, advocacy and support services to more than 400 credit unions in California and Nevada. More than nine million Californians and Nevadans are credit union members. There are more than 8,600 credit unions in the United States, with more than 90 million members.