Pamela Craven, Executive Director of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) of Polk County, has been working with the Polk community for over 21 years, working towards helping students with their education. Before working with the LRC, she was a teacher in the public school system for over 27 years. Devoting her life to education and the youth in our community, Pamela has seen a lot in her years working with students and a need for help in the community. “I'm in schools every week, and it's just like with our programs last summer, we saw children who are entering school without the pre-reading and math skills necessary to succeed the first day. You know, I'm not talking about all the children, sure, but pockets of children,” Pamela informed. 

Pamela’s dedication and focus on the education system over the years have led her to maintain valuable insights into the situation our public school system is facing, “When I had met with the superintendent, we had a discussion that we just need more and more help. We have about 350 tutors who work as independent contractors for us. So we match them with whatever the need is or whatever the program requirements are to meet those needs. A highly qualified educator assesses the student’s concepts and skills, designing an individual plan for success,” Pamela told us. 

Throughout our conversation with Pamela, a major theme emerged, and that is the emphasis on the impact the Learning Resource Center has had on the community. Thousands of students are affected yearly through the partnerships forged with not only the school system but other local organizations as well. Pamela’s commitment to addressing the needs of diverse learners, including those facing homelessness or incarceration, underscores a deep-rooted sense of her commitment to our community. 

One of the most striking aspects of the conversation is the emphasis on impact. From the thousands of students touched by the speaker's work to the partnerships forged with schools and community organizations, there's a tangible legacy of service and empowerment. The speaker's commitment to addressing the needs of diverse learners, including those facing homelessness or incarceration, underscores a deep-rooted sense of social responsibility. ”When you look at the population of children within school age, one out of four live below the poverty level, and that corresponds many times with their academic progress in school,” Pamela informed, “we need to do more 1-on-1 tutoring, more mentoring, more classes for teachers, and more professional development.” 

To host these youth engagement opportunities the most crucial aspects are the number of volunteers and the amount of funding the programs have. The Learning Resource Center works with volunteers and fundraising events to help support their cause. Funding for staff and supplies, mixed from fundraisers, donations, school-district reimbursement, and grants leads to many financial decisions and money movement, “We often need a line of credit. Many times we've already paid our our teachers for their services for the month before we get paid due to some of the processes the funds have to go through. So, instead of getting down to the last penny, I usually come to Bank of Central Florida and put in the line of credit, to be able to pay our teachers and then pay it off when we receive the funds.” 

In the world of nonprofit organizations, every decision, no matter how seemingly small, can have significant implications for the mission and operations of the organization. This holds especially true when it comes to financial matters, and Pamela has had issues with some of her previous banks, dealing with issues of communication as the larger bank took longer to answer and work with her for solutions to her issues. 15 years ago, through her community connections, she had talked with some of Bank of Central Florida’s original board members and learned about this brand new community bank that was opening. After being convinced to come in and talk with Paul Noris, she immediately signed on with the bank and transferred all her accounts over. “I don't think I ever have had to ask for anything where I've been told no, it's always been a solution.This supportive partnership is critical to maintaining and sustaining high quality personnel and programs,” Pamela informed.

At the heart of this decision lies the importance of relationships. Pamela emphasized the value of having a relationship manager who not only understands the unique needs of a nonprofit organization but also shares their commitment to community service and education. The decision to switch banks was not merely transactional but rooted in a desire for partnership and mutual support. “I depend on my bank, and you all take really good care of me and my organization,” Pamela said.

Pamela Craven's journey through education, from her years as a dedicated teacher to her role as Executive Director of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) of Polk County, underscores a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of students in our community. Through her tireless efforts, Pamela has gained invaluable insights into the challenges facing our education system, particularly the need for personalized support and resources for students. Her emphasis on the impact of the LRC on thousands of students annually and the importance of partnerships with schools and local organizations highlights a legacy of service and empowerment. Furthermore, Pamela's decision to bank with Bank of Central Florida reflects the significance of relationships and mutual support in achieving organizational goals. As we look to the future, Pamela's dedication serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the transformative power of education and community collaboration in shaping a brighter tomorrow.

Find out more about what banking with Bank of Central Florida can do for you or your business today.