Truman to gain aid of new local business

"Big changes are coming to Harry Truman High School.A new tide of community involvement will benefit students at Federal Way's alternative school this year.Financial Pacific Leasing, LLC, a Federal Way-based commercial equipment leasing company, will lend financial and volunteer support to Truman throughout the school year.Company employees plan to teach computer skills, interviewing skills, communication skills and leadership to willing Truman students.This is good news for the school, says Victoria Bergsagel, the district's educational design director, who helped organize the partnership. More than half of Truman's students are on free and reduced lunch programs, a measure often used to indicate numbers of poor students.Financial Pacific's 150 employees chose Truman because they wanted an opportunity to work with high school-age students, said Financial Pacific broker account executive Suezy Proctor. In addition, assisting high school students likely will benefit the students in the long term, Proctor said, because they will remember the help they get.We want to help children in a sustaining type of relationship, Proctor said. This isn't a feel-good thing, but we want to give tools that will better their lives. They'll remember them and carry it into their future. Truman is receiving help from Financial Pacific's Community Action Program, or CAP, an employee-managed non-profit organization. By supporting CAP, company employees will donate time to Truman High School through mentoring, tutoring or camaraderie through participation in sports.Everyone overlooks Truman because of all the negative comments and publicity, Proctor said. We're looking to see what their needs are and we can't wait to work with them.Proctor said Financial Pacific is ready to begin helping when Truman resumes schooling Aug. 30.Bergsagel says students will benefit personallyfrom Financial Pacific because adult mentors can pick up where teachers leave off by spending additional time being positive, adult role models for the students.It's a win-win situation for everyone, Bergsagel said. That's our definition of a successful relationship.In addition to helping the students, Proctor said she is eager to turn the tables on the students and involve them in community service such as the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Financial Pacific was the top fund-raiser for Pierce County this year.We want them to benefit from giving to others, she said. They have the ability to change someone's life.Financial Pacific is no stranger to community service. Before the company relocated to Federal Way in September from Tacoma, employees worked with Boze Elementary School for nine years.Boze counselor Carol Costanza said Financial Pacific's employees were very consistent in the time they spent with children.They would have 10 to 20 mentors come every week or every other week, Costanza said. Every Christmas they put on a huge Christmas party for our neediest children and gave gifts like coats and warm clothes.Proctor said Financial Pacific's involvement with Truman likely will be more involved than Christmas presents and coats.We want to learn from them as much as they're going to learn from us, Proctor said. It's a beautiful opportunity. "

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