L-R: Olufunke Smith, Group Head, Lagos Island 1, Retail Banking, FirstBank; Incoming Head Girl, Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, Abiodun George; Ismail Omamegbe , Head, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, FirstBank; Outgoing Head Girl, Methodist Girls High School,Yaba, Amarachi Umezurike and Abimbola Ali, Vice Principal, Admin, Methodist Girls High School, Yaba during the celebration of the 2019 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week of FirstBank held at Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, yesterday.

The Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has encouraged children to cultivate the habit of showing kindness to people around them irrespective of class, race or circumstance.

Dr. Adeduntan gave the charge on Wednesday, 3rd July while espousing the Bank’s values-promoting initiative, ‘Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness’ (SPARK) to pupils of Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Lagos as part of the activities marking the third edition of FirstBank’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) Week themed ‘Ripples of Kindness, Putting You First.’

Represented by the Bank’s Group Head, Retail Banking, Lagos Island 1, Mrs. Olufunke Smith, the CEO explained that the premier and leading financial institution conceived SPARK to help the pupils and Nigerians in general to develop and practice compassion, empathy and giving.

He said kindness has several benefits including feeling happy, fulfilled, developing one’s skills, improving mental health and live out positive values because “a value-centred life helps in building and achieving goals and objectives.”

Apart from encouraging the use of magic words like ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘pardon me’, Dr. Adeduntan disclosed that SPARK also encompasses compassion, civility, charity and connection.

He added that connection includes “asking a neighbour how they are doing, reaching out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while, helping younger ones do their homework, expressing compassionate traits like giving one a hug and visiting one that is ill in the hospital.”

Dr. Adeduntan advised the pupils to imbibe the value of kindness and ensure that they are civil at all times.

Appreciating FirstBank for the initiative and visit, the Vice Principal, Administration, Methodist Girls’ High School, Mrs. Abimbola Ali, expressed her delight on the impact of the SPARK initiative, noting that the general theme of kindness tallies with the motto of the school.

She said, “I really want to appreciate FirstBank for deeming it fit to choose Methodist Girls High School for this talk. Your character determines how far you can fly and the character-based traits teachings on kindness is synonymous with our motto, ‘In Love, Serve One Another’. Serve other people out of love, not convenience. That’s kindness.”

FirstBank’s CR & S Week is holding from 1st July to 6 in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones and the Bank’s business locations in Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, DR Congo and The United Kingdom.

The SPARK Initiative in schools is to embed the values of kindness amongst school children at a young age, so it becomes part and parcel of them, forming a habit and nature as they develop into adulthood. The event had some senior management staff of the Bank give talks on kindness to pupils of 20 secondary schools across the country and other locations in sub-Sahara Africa.

Aside Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, FirstBank’s SPARK initiative was also activated at Gbaja Boys High School, Surulere and Opebi Senior Grammar School, Ikeja in Lagos. Other schools visited include, Sunshine International School Bauchi; Government Science School Maitama, Abuja; Racecourse Secondary School, Kano; Girls Model School, Ikot Ekan, Abak, Akwa Ibom State; Recdot Comprehensive Primary and Secondary School, Pine Crest College Independence Lay Out, Enugu amongst others.


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