Javier Rodriguez, Executive Field Chairman at First Financial Security, Inc., was just doing his job, when he found his cause.
A few years ago, Javier, a retired police officer, gave a financial services presentation to a group of school employees in Los Angeles. One attendee at that presentation was a school police officer. After the presentation he approached Javier. The officer shared that many students at the elementary school in that neighborhood lacked basic school supplies. He wanted to help, but did not have the resources. He asked Javier if he could help.
Doing good, one classroom at a time
Working full-time with three children of their own, Javier and his wife, Marcela, make it a priority to help others. They wanted to give back to the community, and saw a need. Javier strongly believes that education is power—and that children are the future.
Javier and Marcela founded 4 R Kids, 4 R Future. The organization seeks to reinforce the importance of education, by helping deserving students who lack basic school supplies. They do this by strengthening relationships between school districts and law enforcement, by giving away backpacks filled with school supplies and running food drives. “We want to give students recognition and appreciation, to get them thinking that they can become somebody in the future.”
Four years later, thousands of backpacks and meals later—they are still at it, and now with the help of local police departments and agents from First Financial Security. Javier utilizes his network at the LAPD to help with the cause. They all volunteer to help distribute food at the schools they work in. Many of those schools have high drop-out rates, that message is a much needed one.
The power of word of mouth
From all the work they have done, Javier and Marcela are known in their community for doing good. “People know we stand for something beyond life insurance and retirement savings,” Javier shared. And now others turn to them for help.
When Javier was delivering a policy to a teacher, who had heard about the charitable work of 4 R Kids, 4 R Future, she mentioned that her class needed stop watches for science experiments, could Javier help? Javier’s first and only question was, “How many do you need?”
Javier and his wife maximize their organization’s impact by stocking up on school supplies during sales. They have been known to turn heads in stores—when they pack shopping carts full of crayons, notebooks and binders, buying out all the stock in the process. On average they donate supplies to a different school each month.
The cause continues to grow: food insecurity
The food drives really pick up around the holidays and school breaks. “Before school breaks we are busy collecting food at five different drop-off locations. We want to make sure kids who rely on meals at school have food to eat over the break,” Javier shared.
Last year, with support from National Life Group, 4 R Kids, 4 R Future and First Financial Security delivered 495 Turkey dinners to families in need. To put that in perspective, that’s 20 police cruisers loaded with food. After the holiday period, they focus on food drives in the summer to help families who rely on school meals.
In addition to the backpack school supplies and food drives, 4 R Kids, 4 R Future also organizes sports equipment giveaways throughout the year.
As much time and energy that it takes to orchestrate the giveaways, Javier and his volunteers don’t think twice about it.
“When you give, you receive. We put others before ourselves. And when you do good, it comes around.”
Having a personal cause can help you lead a purpose-filled life. Do you have a personal cause?
All photos used with permission of 4 R Kids, 4 R Future.