United Way Day of Caring brings volunteers to South Salt Lake

September 27, 2012
Author: Brenda Fisher | South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake had about 500 more residents than usual, Sept. 13. The annual United Way Day of Caring event brought out the crowd to participate in several programs throughout the city.

United Way Community Collaborations Manager Ashley Hillman said a lot of attention was focused on the needs in South Salt Lake and it was the area that had the most volunteers.

“There are always needs in South Salt Lake. Last year we focused on building up the infrastructure so the projects could accommodate more volunteers,” she said. “We started planning the day further in advance so we could get as many volunteers at the South Salt Lake sites as possible.”

Volunteers were distributed to 10 different sites throughout the city, including the Pioneer Craft House, Woodrow Wilson Elementary, South Salt Lake Animal Shelter and Fitts Park. At each site, a company or group provided employee volunteers to help finish projects.

Hillman said that, although many of the projects required physical labor, this year United Way staff decided to look for volunteers for other projects. These included reading to children at Woodrow Wilson and putting on a career fair at Granite Park Junior High.

“This year we really tried to help volunteers plug into the new direction we’re going,” she said. “We’re trying to get a better mix of the manual labor and the activities that engage the children. We’ve had a lot of people request projects like these and the volunteers were very responsive.”

The projects were planned around the city’s Community Learning Centers. Hillman said by offering volunteers opportunities to provide types of service other than repair and building projects, people had the opportunity to continue volunteering in the community.

“Spending a few hours reading to a child once doesn’t have the impact that repeated visits throughout a school year has,” she said. “We hope people will stay on and keep volunteering in the community.”

More than 30 South Salt Lake City employees were part of the day, as well. South Salt Lake Director of Urban Design Sharen Hauri said the United Way’s commitment to improving the city is because of the strong partnership the two share.

“To have so many volunteers in our city means they believe in the work the United Way of Salt Lake is doing in South Salt Lake,” she said.

Businesses that gathered and organized volunteers for different projects were: Bard Access Systems & HG Healthcare, which donated time to SSL Community Connection; Wells Fargo working with the Police Assistance League; Savage Services at the Pioneer Craft House; United Way Young Leaders & Women’s Philanthropic Network at Granite Park Junior High; Rocky Mountain Power at Woodrow Wilson Elementary; Harland Clarke at Hser Ner Moo; Harman at SSL Animal Shelter; Sprint at Fitts Park; and JC Penney Service Center at Jordan River Parkway.

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Jerilyn Stowe
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