First Bank takes SPARK programme to schools


First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has urged school children to cultivate the habit of showing kindness to people, irrespective of class, race or circumstance.

The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, gave the advice in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday Lagos.

The bank is promoting its values initiative – SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) among students, which took it to Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba.

Adeduntan said that the visit to the school was part of the activities marking the third edition of FirstBank’s Corporate Responsibility Sustainability Week, which has the theme: `Ripples of Kindness, Putting You First’.

Represented by the bank’s Group Head, Retail Banking, Lagos Island 1, Mrs Olufunke Smith, he said that every act of kindness went a long way in leaving indelible impact in the lives of people.

The CEO said that it was important for everyone to `Start Performing Act of Random Kindness’, as it would make the world a better place.

Adeduntan said that the financial institution conceived SPARK to help the students and Nigerians in general to develop and practice compassion, empathy and giving.

He said kindness had several benefits, which include feeling happy, fulfilment, developing one’s skills, improving mental health and living within positive values.

According to him, a positive 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’, SPARK also encompasses compassion, civility, charity and connection.

“Connection includes asking neighbours how they are doing; reaching out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.

“It also includes helping younger ones do their homework, expressing compassionate traits like giving one a hug and visiting one that is ill in the hospital,’’ he said in the statement.

Adeduntan advised the students to imbibe the value of kindness and ensure that they were civil at all times.

The Vice Principal, Administration, Methodist Girls’ High School, Mrs Abimbola Ali, expressed delight on the impact of the SPARK initiative, as the general theme of kindness tallied with the motto of the school.

“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 are synonymous with our motto, `In Love, Serve One Another’.

“Serve other people out of love, not convenience. That is kindness,’’ Ali said.

FirstBank’s Week is holding from July 1 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 who spoke 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; Race Course Secondary School, Kano; and Girls Model School, Ikot Ekan, Abak, Akwa Ibom State.

Recdot Comprehensive Primary and Secondary School, Pine Crest College Independence Lay Out, Enugu, among others, were also visited.


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