Who is Jennifer Ferrara’s Favorite Community Lodgings Employee?
*Editor’s note: At the time this interview was conducted, Ms. Ferrara was with BB&T. She has since taken a position with M&T Bank as Vice President and Business Banking Relationship Manager and she remains very active in social justice causes in Alexandria.
Jennifer Ferrara is the Vice President of Commercial Banking for the Alexandria area BB&T banks. She is the community outreach face of BB&T, and it is hard to attend any community-focused event and not find Jennifer there too.
What attracted you to Community Lodgings?
I live in the Northridge/Beverley Hills neighborhood which is close Community Lodgings’ sites in Arlandria, and I see the need in that community. There is attrition, hunger, a lack of food, a need for family support and basic household items, education, and parenting classes. I see another need that Community Lodgings supports, and that need is school, and specifically homework, support. A lot of the parents in that area do not speak English so they struggle with helping their kids with their school work. With the growing demands of education, proper educational support is a must.
Community Lodgings has been a BB&T client since 2009. We always like to support our clients because we are a relationship-focused bank.
What is important to you about their work?
Their work keeps kids and families safe and off of the streets. They offer support, education, and housing so they have a safe place to live. Their after school program is especially important.
What has your involvement w/Community Lodgings done for you?
It has brought an awareness to me of the needs in the Arlandria community. Sometimes I feel like we live in our own bubble and you don’t get a full awareness of all the needs that there are in your own community.
Who is your favorite Community Lodgings person and why?
Sarah Foote! Her enthusiasm and dedication makes her a great representative of Community Lodgings’ mission. She is always upbeat, smiling, and willing to help make partnerships work and worthwhile. When we chose Community Lodgings as the BB&T Lighthouse project site last April, we worked with Sarah to make spring break emergency food backpacks. She was very accommodating when working with us. Sometimes we have to think outside the box, and she helped with that.
When the families came in to pick up their food backpacks, Sarah was very engaged with them and seemed to know a lot of them. That’s important to me because relationship building is so important to BB&T, and the way she interacts with the families tells that she has a relationship the and that the families feel connected to her. That is the relationship and connection that BB&T strives for as well.
Why would you recommend involvement with Community Lodgings to your friends?
Working with Community Lodgings give you a sense of community pride and of helping others. You get to see the smiling faces of the kids and parents that you are helping, and you know that your work makes a direct impact in their lives.