The bank selects three winners for the third quarter of its “Dream It. Do It.” campaign
Southern Pines, N.C. (March 12, 2018) – A 13-year-old girl so focused on helping others that she started a nonprofit to support local and international causes. A 16-year-old boy who has remained optimistic and confident despite battling a life-threatening illness. A mother who, in seeking to help her own daughter with autism, created a program that now helps close to 50 children with special needs. These are the three individuals who have been selected by First Bank as the third-quarter winners of its “Dream It. Do It.” contest.
First Bank, the largest community bank based in North Carolina, launched the “Dream It. Do It.” campaign in April 2017 to highlight its commitment to serving the people of North Carolina and South Carolina. Throughout the year-long contest, the bank is awarding a total of $100,000 to individuals to help them make their dreams come true—with $25,000 given away every three months to winners selected by a committee of First Bank employees in partnership with a nonprofit organization.
The most recent winners are Kim Smith of Matthews, North Carolina, Chase Clark of Colfax, North Carolina, and Christopher Branch of Fairmont, North Carolina.
In 2015, Smith was having a hard time finding a dance class suitable for her daughter Reagan, who has autism. After posting a plea for help on Facebook, Smith, herself a long-time dancer and former instructor, received an offer of weekend studio time to begin her own program. And thus, “A Chance to Dance” was born. Today, the program offers four recreational and competitive dance classes, as well as private lessons, to nearly 50 children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, amputations and other special needs. While the program has seen tremendous growth in the last few years, one challenge has kept Smith from serving more kids—not having a studio classroom of her own.
In her entry Smith wrote: “A Chance to Dance believes that God has a plan for these children, that we should love them through their journey and imagine all the wonderful things they will accomplish, and we use the magic of dance to help children build friendships, confidence, skill and a sense of accomplishment.”
Smith has been awarded $15,000 to help her expand her program.
Clark, now 13, started the nonprofit Chase’s Chance at the age of 8 to encourage youth activism and charity. Recently, she’s been helping to send classmates who may not otherwise be able to afford it on field trips and to summer camp, and she’s gathering funds to supply children in Liberia with rain boots and other shoes so they can walk to school throughout the year.
In nominating Clark, her mother Salina Clark wrote: “She is unknowingly changing the face of how we determine our level of service to the local and international community. Her influence at this age reminds us that we can all bring change without excuses [and] she encourages many to want to ‘do better.’ Because she does so much for others, I would love to see something returned to her on a personal level.”
Clark has been awarded $5,000, which she plans to use to buy new shoes for the track season, grow her college savings, and use for her ongoing nonprofit projects.
Branch, a quiet 16-year-old, has faced more obstacles in his life than a typical teenager. Born with Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia Syndrome, which causes a weakened immune system, he underwent two bone marrow transplants by the age of 10. He has also been in foster care since 2011, living with families in both Fairmont and the western part of North Carolina. He now lives with Sharon Delois Townsend, a long-time friend and mentor, who has looked out for Branch from the beginning.
Townsend, who nominated Branch for “Dream It. Do It.” says: “It’s so wonderful to call Chris my son and to finally have him back here in Fairmont with those who love him the most. But because it’s just the two of us, there’s not a lot extra on hand for school supplies and the things he needs to be successful in his education.”
Branch has been awarded $5,000 to use for new glasses, the much-needed supplies, and to help start saving for college.
Dream It. Do It Campaign Success
Since its launch, “Dream It. Do It.” has generated more than 3,000 entries from more than 400 cities and towns in North Carolina and South Carolina. Community Housing Solutions, a Greensboro, North Carolina,-based nonprofit that works to eliminate substandard living conditions by providing home rehabilitation, maintenance and repairs, was the campaign’s nonprofit partner for the third quarter and received a $10,000 donation from First Bank for its participation.
“Each day we continue to receive many wonderful and heartfelt dreams from deserving people throughout the Carolinas,” said Michael Mayer, president and CEO of First Bank. “We’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to work with wonderful nonprofit partners to help make some of the dreams we receive become a reality.”
The “Dream It. Do It.” campaign runs until March 31, 2018, and is open to anyone who lives in North Carolina or South Carolina. Individuals can either nominate themselves or someone else. For official contest rules or to submit an entry, visit any First Bank location or www.localfirstbank.com/dreamitdoit
About First Bancorp
First Bancorp is the holding company for First Bank and is headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolina, with total assets of approximately $5.4 billion. Its principal activity is the ownership and operation of First Bank, a state-chartered community bank that operates 102 bank branches in North Carolina and South Carolina. Since 1935, First Bank has taken a tailored approach to banking, combining best-in-class financial solutions, helpful local expertise, and technology to manage a home or business. First Bancorp’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “FBNC.” Visit our website at www.LocalFirstBank.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender