Missouri employees light up St. Louis community for a good cause

December 08, 2022
Trevisano Teddy Bear Land, which has raised more than $125,000 in donations for St. Patrick Center since 2004.

Through one employee's family with a bright spirit of giving, everyone shines. 

For U.S. Bank employee Amanda Trevisano Smith, giving back to others during the holiday season was instilled in her at a young age. And it all started with her grandmother. 

“My grandmother had seven kids and was left to raise them on her own after my grandfather passed away serving in the U.S. military,” explained Trevisano Smith, who is a hub manager and works out of the U.S. Bank Fenton, Missouri, branch, in St. Louis County. “My grandmother used to take my Dad and his siblings to downtown St. Louis and gaze at the Christmas lights in window displays. It was something that everyone looked forward to that didn’t cost any money.” 

So, 30 years ago when Trevisano Smith was a child, her dad felt inspired to create something similar at his house for people to enjoy. “I remember Santa Night, when my dad would dress up and my siblings and I would be elves. Eventually, a lot of people started coming out to see the lights and they wanted to give my dad something for helping create special holiday memories, so our family started accepting donations and giving the proceeds to charity.” 

Since 2004, the Trevisano family has donated more than $125,000 to St. Patrick Center to help thousands of people experiencing homelessness. U.S. Bank employees have joined in the spirit of volunteerism by helping Trevisano Smith’s family with the Christmas lights display, which sits within a neighborhood in the Crestwood community. 

“Over the years, several U.S. Bank employees have reached out and signed up as a team to volunteer at Trevisano Teddy Bear Land - sometimes braving the cold, rain, and snow,” said Katie Joseph, St. Patrick Center’s director of philanthropy operations. “The community has the opportunity to view an amazing display and offer donations to help their neighbors in need. It is also unique because the family has taken pride in this for many years, and really believe in our mission. It is not about them; it’s how many people they can help. I hope when people drive by the display they are filled with the joy of the season and inspired to help their community.” 

U.S. Bank volunteers (left to right) Sherrie Wilson, Jason Craft, Kadira Kurtalic, Alma Agastra and Amanda Trevisano Smith.

Branch Manager Jason Craft, who works at the nearby Sunset Hills branch, said it’s a heart-warming experience to volunteer at the event and see the smiles and cheer of the visitors.

“The whole purpose is to remember those less fortunate during the holiday season and to live out the mantra of giving versus receiving,” he said. “The spectacular decorative display attracts onlookers to help bring the holidays to life – even with their own radio station for onlookers to tune into during their visit! I am so inspired by the family’s ongoing commitment, effort and sacrifice each and every year to put on such a wonderful charitable event.”

Annually, U.S. Bank gives 16 hours of paid time off for eligible employees to volunteer in their communities. Last year, employees volunteered 731 hours per day with nonprofit organizations.  

“It’s exciting to see the company encourage our employees to get out in the community and do good for others who may not be as fortunate," Trevisano Smith said. "It means a lot to me that some of my colleagues have gotten involved to help our community in this way. I’ve worked for U.S. Bank for 13 years and I feel like it goes back to our core values – and living out what U.S. Bank wants to represent and what I’m passionate about within my family.” 

Trevisano Smith said her dad spends up to 400 hours putting up the lights and starts in August so he can make everything just right. Today, her own children are involved and dress up as elves. 

“This is what I am trying to instill in my children – that they are blessed and Christmas isn’t about getting, it’s about giving. It’s about seeing others happy.” 

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