Helping others understand value of money is important to credit union CEO

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 24, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Karen Lynette Hopson Jenkins, 36, Chief Executive Officer at the Nansemond Credit Union on East Washington St., has a big heart.

She carries a full load as manager of the credit union, still finds time to perform many volunteer activities and to spend time with youth of all ages.

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Jenkins said that over three years ago God placed it on her heart to start a youth program that she later named, &uot;The Little Savers Club.

&uot;This is a program that I have taken into two local schools through our partnership through the Nansemond Credit Union. It allows the student to become a member of this institution and to open up his own personal savings account,&uot; said Jenkins. &uot;We travel to school twice per month, and the students enjoy having

these accounts, depositing coins and big cash that, they say, mom and dad can’t touch without their signatures.&uot;

According to Jenkins, this activity causes students to develop self-esteem because it puts them in charge of their accounts.

&uot;It’s planting a seed inside of them to save for their futures, which I hope with encouragement will teach them to blossom into super savers,&uot; she said.

Another youth group founded by Jenkins in 1997 was a mass choir called, &uot;Let The Children Sing.&uot; However, it has been inactive for about a year. Since Jenkins is also a musician, the children in this organization were members of many choirs that she played for ranging in ages from five to 18.

&uot;Kids came from as far as Richmond to participate. I formed this group to motivate kids, to produce good morals, and to steer them on the right path. Not only did we give concerts but we also as a group took trips and participated in other activities,&uot; she said.

According to Jenkins, they rehearsed in various local churches, and other musicians from other locations visited to teach them songs.

&uot;Some of these children never had the opportunity to go on trips and do some of the things that we did so I am going to start it up again this summer,&uot; she said.

Meanwhile until that times comes, Jenkins still help to supervise many youth activities patricularly including ones in music at her church, East End Baptist on East Washington St.

Name: Karen Lynette Hopson Jenkins

Age: 36

Hometown: Suffolk

Family: Husband, Clinton Jenkins; three daughters, Ashlin, Britney and Candice; mother, Dora Hopson; two older brothers, Vernon E.

Hopson Jr. and Ronald Hopson Sr..

Career: Chief

Executive Officer for the Nansemond Credit Union.

Volunteer Activities: Senior and Cadette Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts, Board of Directors for Suffolk Crime Line, involved in many church and civic activities, and volunteer at various hospitals and nursing homes.

My favorite thing about my life in Suffolk.

My family and roots are here.

Why did you pursue your chosen career? I didn’t choose this career. God just saw fit to have me here to use as well as to enhance the gifts and skills He has given me and to be in a position to serve my community.

The favorite thing about my job: Being able to serve my community in ways such as directing people to debt freedom, helping someone get a college education, purchase his first car and home, finding a way to say yes, and knowing that I can help when everyone has told the same person sorry they can’t. Just knowing that the members take time to just come by and check on me because they care, and also their knowing that my concern for them goes far beyond a savings account or a loan.

The least favorite thing about my job: Seeing how many people are not educated in the area of budgeting, not knowing the value of good credit, and the damage bad credit can have in their future and also seeing them not knowing the importance of saving money.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? My family, having a heart to love and growing up in a family that taught me the importance and value of sharing and caring for others, finding a way to reach goals and people that others may say are unreachable; allowing no race, age or status to turn me away. I’m proud of organizing &uot;The Little Savers Club&uot; and &uot;Let the Children Sing because they teach youth many values and self-esteem.

What or who motivates and inspires you? Knowing that there are still homeless people and babies still having babies. There are elderly people who have cared and given their love and time to their families in their young years and now that they are old, now there is no family or friends to care for them. If a child is being abused or is traveling down the wrong path, I know there is still work for me to do. Who inspires me? Those persons who have the power and resources to build facilities or to renovate some vacant building here in the city to have a safe and constructive fun place for our youth and a loving place for our elderly citizens as well. People tell me all of the time that I can’t do it all. I know that; but if I do all that I can, and I can lead others to do the same, it will be much less that needs to be done.

Favorite way to spend your free time: I normally spend my free time after 11 p.m. writing plans and proposals for some type of youth or senior program, writing songs, and designing dream homes, especially mine.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others. Knowing that God has purposely blessed you with life, and make sure in your lifetime you make a positive impact in someone else’s life. Be a blessing to others and when your life is over, leave an inheritance of love, smiles, good memories and a clear example of the way a good life should be lived, not an &uot;inhurtance&uot;-living a life of trouble and leaving trouble behind for others to bear and to remember you by.

We all have our 15 minutes of fame in life. How would you spend your time in the spotlight? I would

spend it thanking God, my family and those who saw the opportunity to help me and were my cushion and spring board to lift me up and not a shovel and hole to bury me in when they saw me falling. Also thanking them who held out their hand when they saw me stumble, not stick out their foot to trip me up.

What ingredients are in the recipe for good life: Listen a lot, care and share a lot more and love yourself

and others forever.