Marilyn Olson moderates the special GIFT workshop for First Bethany Bank & Trust employees.

Story and photo by Eddie Roach, VillagesOKC Member/Volunteer

A metro area bank has partnered with VillagesOKC to offer a special version of VillagesOKC’s GIFT (Gathering Information for Transitions) workshop for its employees. First Bethany Bank & Trust provided the workshop as a benefit to employees, and VillagesOKC tailored the normal 6-hour workshop into two 2-hour evening sessions.
The GIFT is an interactive workshop in which participants talk through difficult questions, learn about options and write solutions for the “what if’s” in the future. Normally, the workshop consists of 90-minute sessions held once a week for four weeks.
Participants document their own personal, legal, medical, financial, real estate, passwords, personal preferences, emergency contacts and crisis plan. Everyone is encouraged to hold a family meeting afterwards. A binder is provided for participants to keep all their information.
“We think it’s valuable information that every family should consider, but often doesn’t go to the great lengths that the workshop does,” said Priscilla Cude, First Bethany President & CEO. “That includes our First Bethany family.
“We thought it would be beneficial to them and that they could also share what they’ve learned with our customers when it’s appropriate in conversations. We also thought it would be a good way for our employees to share the VillagesOKC story if they participated in one of their workshops.”
Fourteen employees and five spouses signed up for the workshop. Cude said attendees ranged in age from 28 to 69 years old.
“Although the material was compressed for time’s sake, we still covered all high points,” said Dana Bellows, VillagesOKC project manager. “Many of the participants had an ‘aha’ moment where they realized there were some steps they needed to take – a form they needed to sign, a person they needed to appoint.”
Cude said she highly recommends other companies look at providing this benefit to employees. “When employees are in personal crisis, it naturally spills over to the workplace. This is a way to assist our employees when facing those times.”