SSL Early Learning Network: Collective Impact at Its Finest

by Ashley Hillman

Community Collaborations Director

Among all of the excitement and momentum in South Salt Lake around Collective Impact is one group of committed early learning providers, collaborating to ensure that every single child in SSL, 0-5 years old, is demonstrating age-appropriate development and ready to enter kindergarten.

The South Salt Lake Early Learning Network is comprised of multiple partners including, Granite School District Preschool Program, Salt Lake CAP Head Start, Children’s Service Society, Voices for Utah Children, the City of South Salt Lake, the Department of Health Nurse-Family Partnership, Department of Workforce Services and United Way of Salt Lake. This group of committed early learning stakeholders meets regularly and uses data to help inform strategies, interventions, and outreach mechanisms to achieve the goals stated above. Data tells us that there are 1,956 children aged 0-5 in South Salt Lake, several of whom are currently enrolled in early learning programming, but a vast majority of whom are not involved in any sort of programming (or are on a waitlist).

Collective Impact at its finest is seeing this group of providers talking about who is being served, how to reach more children and their families, and how to most effectively utilize interventions to help lay a firm educational foundation for every child in SSL! One major success is the fact that this group exists and is excited about changing the odds for infants and toddlers in SSL; an even greater success will be seeing these 1,956 children entering kindergarten ready to learn!

South Salt Lake Updates!

by Chelsea Nelson

Communications Director

There are so many good things going on in the neighborhood of South Salt Lake and we wanted to share them with you!  February and March have proven to be very positive months!  Here are a few updates on some of our Community Learning and Welcome Centers.

PAL Pete Suazo Boxing and Welcome Center

Mr. Hugo Hernandez was honored with an award at the police banquet as PAL student of the year for his improvements in academics, his first boxing win and his overall attitude.  In attendance were his father, sister, along with various city dignitaries.

The center is finally up to full staff with the addition of three new boxing coaches.
The center has begun its ACT Prep classes for 9-12 grade students.  This occurs every Thursday from 5-7pm with different subjects covered each week which culminates in the option to sign up for and take the test on April 14th (Saturday).

Granite Park Jr. High

This year Granite Park Junior High experienced a successful parent teacher conference. There were several students and their parents who stopped by the Grizzly Academy booth. There were also over 150 surveys filled out to help United Way with some baseline data.

The Grizzly indoor soccer league has begun and started out with a great success. Several students are signed up and competing every Tuesday and Thursday. Soccer is one of the biggest sports offered in the program.

Woodrow Wilson Community Learning Center

The tax van, provided by The Beehive, came to Woodrow Wilson and served three people this year, compared to the zero who took advantage of this opportunity last year. Computers were set up in the faculty room and the volunteer tax professional helped guide the online tax filing. The Mobile Health Clinic was extra busy this month with 60 people served. The spots for appointments filled up fast and there were still many walk-ins who came hoping to get a spot.

All staff positions at the Woodrow Wilson CLC are now filled. This has allowed the CLC to take all the students off the waiting list for the Afterschool Program; there are now 116 students enrolled! One of the students who had been on the waiting list would check-in every day to see if there was a spot for him yet.

Hser Ner Moo

The Hser Ner Moo Center has a select number of teenagers who play soccer regularly with the HNM team. They work on developing their skills and knowledge on the game under the direction of Coach Mike Osheku, one of the Center’s Prevention Specialist staff. Recently, a few of the teens decided to try out for the local high school soccer team. Undoubtedly, two of them made the team; one of them is on the Junior Varsity, and the other made the Varsity team. Congratulations to the two teens! The Center and staff wish them good luck on the upcoming soccer season!

Villa Franche

The after school program is filling up with students and volunteers and has come alive with activity and academic endeavors.

One student is now bringing homework to the after school program. Marcel still needs a little extra help because he is still far behind his peers in 7th grade.  He struggles with reading, and does not yet know colors. This information can help the Villa Franche staff find better and more intensive ways of working with him, the goal is to find someone to work with him 4 days a week.

Another boy’s academic and English skills continues to improve every day, and he enjoys helping others with homework or reading. He doesn’t always bring homework, but the Villa Franche staff are honored that he prefers to be at the Center and not running around on the streets or watching television.

One young girl is a beautifully spirited individual and intuitively knows when people need help.

she is always there to help with clean-up projects, to help carry boxes, or to motivate the others to help.  However, she continues to struggle with her alphabet, both with recall and writing. One of the biggest fears is that she will become frustrated and stop trying to learn; The Villa Franche program staff will continue to work with her and not forget to include other activities that she enjoys.

We are so happy to hear about all the great success happening in South Salt Lake–and this is just a snap shot!  Please be sure to click on the names of the Centers to find out more about where they are located and what services they provide.

Mini of Murray Finalists!

by Alison Cundiff

Resource Development Executive

Over the past few months, I have had the wonderful opportunity of surprising three of our Mini Cooper finalists in their workplaces. Each of these individuals attended a meeting to kick-off their United Way workplace campaign where they entered to win a one year lease on a Mini Cooper from Mini of Murray and a free year of gas from Tesoro.  Mark Winters from Mini of Murray accompanied me on these surprise visits and even brought a Mini Cooper to get the finalists excited about hopefully winning the lease!

Congratulations to Walt Hansen from U.S. Magnesium, Verenize Sandoval from jcpenney in the Layton Hills Mall, and Irma Villanueva from Community Health Centers! Thank you for attending your workplace campaign meeting and for your continued support of United Way of Salt Lake! That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.

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Photos courtesy of Brian Connole of Mini of Murray

Committed Community Partner Award!

by Brian Guyer

Volunteer Engagement Director

United Way is excited to announce that our organization has been selected as the Thaynes Center at Salt Lake Community College’s recipient of the 2012 Committed Community Partner Award from Utah Campus Compact. The purpose of the Utah Campus Compact Awards is to recognize the work of outstanding faculty, staff, students, and community partners at the statewide level.
This award recognizes an organization that:

  • “Strengthens community involvement at our institution”
  • “Provides meaningful service and learning opportunities for students”
  • “Enhance their agency’s mission/programs/goals by partnering with our institution”

United Way is very happy to receive this award and proud of our work with the Thaynes Center.  As a recipient the United Way of Salt Lake will be honored at the Utah Campus Compact Annual Conference on Civic Engagement at Utah Valley University on April 2, 2012. Our colleagues in service-learning and community engagement from across the state will be in attendance.  We are very excited and honored by this recognition.

March Tip: Spring Clean Your Finances!

Clear the clutter

If you’ve got receipts and statements piling up, it may be time to sort and shred. The IRS requires taxpayers to maintain tax records for all income, deductions or credits claimed on their federal returns for at least three years. Signing up for online statements and paying bills electronically might help reduce paper pileup.

Safeguard important documents

Financial documents such as savings bonds, life insurance policies, deeds and property titles should be stored in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box at the bank. In the event of a fire or other disaster, these important documents will be preserved. You can even keep photo copies in your home for reference and store originals in a safe and protected place.

Organize Payments

Gather your financial statements and list the amount owed on each along with minimum payments and interest rates. From there, establish a play to pay off one debt at a time. Setting up automatic payments for recurring bills such as car loans, the cable bill or monthly mortgage is a one-time task that offers ongoing benefits.


Community Learning Center Model Receiving National Attention

by Bill Crim

Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Public Policy

The March 14th edition of the national publication, Education Week, featured a front page feature on the impact community learning centers (CLCs), also known as comprehensive community schools, can have on communities.  While relatively new in Utah, the CLC model is growing rapidly – and showing promising results for children and families.  United Way of Salt Lake has been instrumental in helping the CLC movement gain traction in Utah – working with school districts, principals, and dozens of partners to expand from one comprehensive CLC prior to 2007, to seven in 2008, and now to 18 in Salt Lake, Granite, Davis and Park City School Districts.  This model has also been replicated in non-school settings in an additional eight neighborhood centers, and more schools and communities are contacting UWSL to learn how they can build the collaborative partnerships that will transform the lives of the children they serve.

To read more about the community school or CLC movement nationwide, read the Education Week article, or check out our web site to see how schools and communities are working together to create a brighter future for all children.
photo courtesy of

Thank You Volunteers!

by Emilie Davis

Volunteer Coordinator

In January 2012, United Way 2-1-1 Volunteer Center opened up a new volunteer project with Salt Lake County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).  RSVP is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is America’s largest volunteer network for people age 55 and over.  Retired individuals sign up and volunteer their time with a number of local projects.

This new project at United Way 2-1-1 Volunteer Center was developed to help schedule appointments for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program throughout the state of Utah.  We are lucky to have nine fabulous ladies as part of the information specialist team.  They take calls as well as remind people about their upcoming tax appointment. The RSVP volunteers provide a necessary service to low-income people and families all over the state.  We are so grateful for their time and efforts. Thank you Judy Spratling, Lucy Tucker, Camille Fowler, Gina Gianelo, Leona Blackbird, Pat Kirk, Diane Schnarr, Marilee Flynn, and Jackie Middlebrook!