34621 Associated Bank colleague, Joe Smits, Chief Information Security Officer and graduate of this year's Leadership Green Bay class, assisted a team in building a whimsical Dr. Seuss-inspired playhouse for preschool-aged children as part of the Leadership Green Bay program service project.

Smits assisted the team as project manager. He helped in the building process, project management, and raising of funds. As part of an eight person team comprised of colleagues from various businesses and organizations, Joe helped to construct "The Thingamajigger House." Along with networking within the community to arrange the capital and construction for the project, the team provided their own hands-on labor.

"Participating in this project was very rewarding for our entire group," said Joe Smits, Chief Information Security Officer. "Having the playhouse at Family Services Healthy Families provides an environment that allows teen parents to bond with their children. Our team is thrilled that we can assist in making those bonds a possibility. This is a project that will impact the community for a long time."

The project's goal is to create a place where preschool-aged children of clients from the Family Services Healthy Families program can use their imagination, interact with other children, and have the opportunity to make their favorite Dr. Seuss stories come to life.

Associated Bank provides financial and in-kind contributions to The Leadership Green Bay program. Associated has sponsored a number of participants over the years. Fourteen Associated colleagues from Green Bay have graduated from this program. Last year, Associated Bank won the program's annual John M. and Meredith B. Rose Business Award for Community Involvement & Leadership.

The Leadership Green Bay seeks to develop leaders who can provide education about local community strengths and opportunities to encourage community stewardship. Leadership Green Bay is sponsored by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The program was created to address the lack of leadership in the area. Once the program was established it was defined by the following: identifying and developing potential leaders, acquainting these leaders with community resources, offering alternatives for solving community challenges, and preparing and encouraging their involvement on boards and committees. Each year, Leadership Green Bay selects diverse participants and then has those participants attend all-day education sessions over a nine-month span. Following these sessions the group makes a decision as to what ways they can volunteer within the community.

The Healthy Families program works with teenage parents as well as parents with other challenges in the Green Bay community. The program helps to teach parenting skills and create family bonds. Program coordinators also teach new parents the value of balancing play and reading time with their children, which are all elements achieved with The Thingamajigger House.

Joe Smits (left), Chief Information Security Officer, Associated Bank, stands with his Leadership Green Bay class and "The Thingamajigger House."