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Category Archives: UServeUtah

2016 MLK Day Projects

volunteers doing a service project

Join a Project

Congratulations to our 2015 MLK Day of Service Grant Winners! If you’re interested in learning more about the service projects happening across the state and how you can get involved, click on the links below. Pre-registration is encouraged so you have a better chance of getting your first choice of the project you’d like to join.

University of Utah Bennion Center

BYU Center for Service and Learning

Weber State University Center for Community Engaged Learning

Public School Partnership

Dixie State University Multicultural/Diversity Center

Playworks

Or, check out this list of service opportunities. If you have a project consider registering it by visiting the mlkday.gov site. We also have Toolkits for creating projects.

Volunteering and Civic Life in America Report

For the tenth consecutive year, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has ranked Utah first in the U.S. for voluntarism because of Utahns’ generosity and commitment to improve their communities. At a press conference on Tuesday with Governor Gary Herbert the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism announced the 2015 Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report ranked Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation for the tenth year running.

 

Volunteering and Civic Engagement in Utah Trends and Highlights Overview for Utah in for 2014:

  • 46.0% of residents volunteer, ranking them 1st among the 50 states and Washington, DC.
  • 953,990 volunteers
  • 91.7 volunteer hours per capita
  • 193.7 million hours of service
  • $4.5 billion of service contributed
  • 68.0% of residents donate $25 or more to charity

Volunteering and Civic Engagement in Salt Lake City, UT Trends and Highlights Overview for Salt Lake City, UT, in 2014:

  • Ranked #1 in the Nation for Metropolitan-sized cities
  • 37.5% of residents volunteer, ranking them 1st among the 51 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas
  • 295,700 volunteers
  • 78.0 volunteer hours per capita
  • 38.0 million hours of service
  • $1.3 billion of service contributed
  • 66.1% of residents donate $25 or more to charity

Additional data is available on voting, group participation, social connectedness, and other volunteering and civic life indicators at www.volunteeringinamerica.gov

Read the full press release.

Pledge10 in 2016

Utah has led the nation in volunteerism for 10 consecutive years. We’d like you to join us in celebrating Utah’s continued commitment to service by joining Pledge10 to volunteer beyond what you’re already doing in your community in 2016. We want to make this our biggest and best year of service yet as we reach out to one another, do a little bit of good, and watch the world change.

Here are some examples of ways you can Pledge10:

  1. Pledge nowAs a family, serve 10 neighbors by shoveling their driveway, making them a treat, or fixing a fence.
  2. As a family, serve 10 aging adults by visiting a care facility or elderly neighbor.
  3. As a faith-based or community organization, gather 10 people to complete a service project together.
  4. As a faith-based or community organization, plant at least 10 trees together.
  5. As a school, adopt 10 organizations to benefit throughout the year.
  6. As class, collect 10 pounds of clothing or food per month to donate to food banks and/or homeless shelters.
  7. As a company, commit 10 employees to volunteer for a particular organization or cause during the year.
  8. As a company, offer employees 10 hours per quarter to volunteer for an organization of their choice.
  9. As an individual, commit to volunteer for an organization at least 10 times throughout the year.
  10. As an individual, challenge 10 people to volunteer with you or host a competition to see who can be the first to volunteer 10 times in 2016.

Or develop your own creative pledge idea and share it with us!

Share your service stories on social media! #Pledge10Utah

Family Volunteer Day

Kick off the holiday season with loved ones and an act of kindness on Saturday, Nov. 21 (the weekend before Thanksgiving) to celebrate the 25th Annual Family Volunteer Day, brought to you by generationOn and Disney Friends for Change. Read more

Lt. Governor to Honor Veterans Across Utah Serving in National Service

On November 11, 2015, Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox will honor AmeriCorps members serving in Utah who are military veterans or reservists. This recognition is part of a national service initiative called Vet Corps which will recognize those who have continued serving their country as a civilian through AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs. The initiative also recognizes individuals who serve veterans and military families.

“On behalf of Utah, we want to thank this special group who show their commitment to serving their country twice; first as a member of our nation’s military and again as AmeriCorps members here in Utah,” Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox said.

Vet Corps will unite nearly 27,000 veterans from World War II and the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War and the most recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts; those who have dedicated themselves to public service as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members.

“Veterans bring the skills they acquired in their military service to continue serving on the home-front through AmeriCorps,” LaDawn Stoddard, UServeUtah Director said. “Because of their past service they are uniquely positioned to make an impact in their local communities.”

In Utah, veterans or reservists can be found serving in many AmeriCorps programs including the Utah Conservation Corps, Salt Lake County Homelessness Program, and the Utah Preparedness and Response Corps operating out of the Red Cross. These members are engaging in a wide variety of service activities in Utah, from improving literacy and increasing graduation rates, providing mental healthcare and disaster preparedness training, to assisting homeless individuals and families to transition into housing and job services, they are truly making a difference every day.

In addition to engaging vets or reservists, AmeriCorps programs also focus on providing support services to veterans and military family members. The American Red Cross Utah Region hosts a program that outreaches to veterans and provides resources and information such as housing support, financial assistance, healthcare, and job placement services. Red Cross AmeriCorps members have provided this kind of support to nearly 900 veterans here in Utah.

For more information about AmeriCorps in Utah visit UServe.Utah.gov. For more information about Senior Corps please visit nationalservice.gov.
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Utah Philanthropy Day

The Utah Philanthropy Day luncheon will be Wednesday, November 18, 2015, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Little America (500 S Main, SLC)

We will honor some of Utah’s philanthropic and volunteer leaders by presenting them with awards at a gala luncheon. The giving spirit of the awardees serves as an inspiration to other individuals and organizations to spread the impact of community giving.

The luncheon will be held in the Little America Hotel Ballroom, and space is limited to 800 attendees.

For more information, visit utahphilanthropyday.org

AmeriCorps Spotlight Coach B

AmeriCorps Spotlight: 2,000 Miles from “Home”

playworks member headshotIn the mornings, I usually take some back roads before getting on the highway to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a little taste of home, one thing I have no qualms about splurging some of my AmeriCorps living stipend on.

I-215 takes me through West Valley to exit 297, and with a couple more lefts and rights I arrive at my new home, Midvale Elementary, home of the Mustangs. I hold many titles and roles here at Midvale, but first and foremost is that of Coach B, Playworks coach.

Playworks is a national non-profit organization, now in almost every major city in America, that leverages the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. As a Playworks coach stationed at an elementary school, I do that by teaching games, conflict resolution, teamwork, and empathy through games in the classroom and playground. The games are silly, but directed, extremely fun and incredibly purposeful. I am a teacher, and recess is my classroom. I have the best job in the world.

Playworks coaches take a vow of service with AmeriCorps, the United States national service organization, which means we all have dedicated 10 months of our lives to do this important work. It’s through this partnership that we are able to positively impact 7,265 children in 12 schools every single school day here in Utah. For me, it’s knowing this that makes the program so special.

US_CoachB Flimstrip

I set some things down in my room and wander the halls across the school to the front office to check my mailbox, and I visit with my “ladies”, the secretaries, for a few minutes. Anyone who has ever worked at a school knows how important it is to have these amazing women on your side.

By the time I get to the office, I’ve already have racked up over under 20 high fives from students who are so happy to see me they could burst. It is, of course, a scientifically valid fact that there is not a single thing in the universe that can’t be fixed by a smile and high five from a kindergartner.

The core of my day today will consist of the following:

Organizing and moderating all the games and activities for 12 recesses, grades K-5, and, yes, I will get to play at all of them, in fact, it’s part of my job description.

Leading 4 Class Game Times, individual 30 minute directed play sessions with teachers and their students.

I will meet with my Junior Coaches, a group of 15 young leaders at Midvale who help facilitate games at recesses and act as role models for their friends at school.

In the evening I coach my 4th and 5th grade girls in their inter-school league basketball games.

Somewhere in between I’ll find time to eat and breathe and do some general administrative duties, but most of the day, I play.

The move from Boston to Salt Lake City started out as a whim during conversations with my brother, who planned to move to Utah post graduation from college to work at a ski mountain for a year or two before returning back East. Eventually, it became significantly easier for me to find reasons to move, than reasons to stay. I had this looming fear of becoming too entrenched back East and missing out on experiencing a different part of the country. I knew there was a good chance if I did not make a change now, I might not ever make one. The one caveat I placed upon myself was the need to find a job worth uprooting my life for.

Enter Playworks.

So, on August 3rd I left my job at one of the most prestigious cancer hospitals in Boston. On August 4th I packed my life into the car and spent one last night at my childhood home. On August 5th, I began my solo drive across the country. On August 7th, I arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah to begin my next adventure.

Boston is a city where the rat race is alive and well and thriving. It’s a place where, I think, many people find it hard to quite literally, stop, and take time to smell the roses. It’s a place where everyone’s everyday insecurities are masked by blank stares out the window, sunglasses over their eyes, or headphones in their ears. When everything around you is so much of the same, it makes for a hard environment in which to form a viable identity.

The life I left in Boston was a very satisfactory, uncomplicated one, filled with the coveted safeness and predictability our society and most people in it embrace.

We work our whole lives in the hope that we will earn enough money to retire, so you can spend all your time doing something you love, but perhaps it’s worth thinking if that’s not a touch backwards. Perhaps it’s okay to leave a little bit more of our lives up to fate and risk and circumstance. Perhaps happiness, that single state of being where everything inside and out is alright, is made up of more of a mix of all those things than we think. Perhaps happiness is simply not knowing the whole story.

Monotony is not good for the mind, and to all of you whom something from this story resonated, I recommend you switch it up. Mixing it up in life, I would argue, can rarely turn out to be detrimental. Removing yourself from your comfort zone, as I’m now doing everyday with Playworks and in my new world here in Salt Lake, is refreshing and stimulating and scary. And it’s good, it’s really good.

So, here I am tonight, writing after getting home from Midvale, still not completely understanding the feeling I get everyday there. That feeling of being where I’m supposed to be, of being home, even though I’m 2,000 miles away from the home I’ve known forever.

However, in that same moment of uncertainty, there’s a comfort in knowing that I’m 2,000 miles away from that satisfactory, uncomplicated, safe, and predictable place. There’s a comfort in knowing I’m one step closer to figuring it all out.

Summer of Service Winners

Congratulations to our Summer of Service prize winners! We’re so excited to reward them for their volunteer contributions in their communities and hope they make volunteering a lifelong commitment!

Participants are awarded prizes in a monthly drawing. These youth volunteered a minimum of 10 hours during the month and submitted videos, photos with stories, and posted on social media with #utahsummerofservice15. Prizes were donated from the community and include generous donations from Seven Peaks, The Salt Lake Bees, Red Butte Gardens and many more! For a full list of sponsors click here.

Abigail
Abigail has volunteered for the last five years at This is the Place and it is the highlight of her week!  She attends pioneer school and does chores to keep the park clean. As a volunteer Abigail adds to the authenticity of the living history village atmosphere and teaches other children about rug making.   She also learns about Utah’s history while volunteering. Abigail loves to volunteer at This is the Place!

Armani
USsmImageArmani started volunteering and planning community service projects three and one-half years ago when she was only 8 years old. Since then she has organized 13 donation drives to help those in need including her fourth backpack and school supply drive for Catholic Community Services.   Armani raised just over $2,600 so far this summer as part of her Backpack Bonanza.  “I really love volunteering and helping people, said Armani.  Armani is building useful skills through volunteering that will help her in future endeavors like applying for college.

 

 

 

 

Abigailusabby
Abigail volunteers at the Red Cross every Monday creating kits for use at blood drives.  She is also a member of a group that volunteers together called Excell. Abigail is making new friends and learning the value of serving the community through volunteering.

 

 

 

 

Calvin
USsm2Calvin is in his first year volunteering at This is the Place in the Pioneer Village.  He dresses up as a pioneer and help guests, answer questions, give directions, and poses for pictures!  Recently groups from Especially for Youth came to the Pioneer Village and Calvin helped them collect branches. Calvin is learning the importance of serving the community at a young age and having fun at the same time!

 

 

 

Eden 
As a volunteer at This is the Place Eden gives visitors directions, sweeps the porch, picks up sticks, helps with the animals and washes dishes. She has been volunteering regularly at This is the Place for the last three years. “I like to do it because it’s fun.  I love dressing up as a pioneer, it’s fun to live in the old pioneer days and be in their actual houses,” said Eden.

 

Jackson USTITP- Jackson 2009-2015
Jackson is six years old and will be starting 1st grade in the fall and has been volunteering at This is the Place Heritage Park since he was less than 6 months old! As a volunteer Jackson plays the part of a pioneer giving the village an authentic family feel.  He started off by simply sleeping in the bread bowl or baby cradle, and looking adorable, and now he is old enough to help with chores, go to the Deseret school and run around the village just as any kid would during the pioneer era.  Jackson volunteers every week with his family who loves to serve and give back to the community!

 

Makita 
Makita helps at Military Maker 4-H Camp by assisting with camp games and projects and sorting supplies. One of the projects he leads involved paper-mâché, “I enjoyed helping them even if it meant getting a little paper-mâchéd,” said Makita.

 

Samantha
For Samantha’s first service project this summer she organized a group of kids to paint tables and signs in Andy Adams Park. They also dug up trees and bushes USSocialMediaPicsaround the pond and created a trail. “I had a lot of fun doing this service project and it made the park a lot nicer and more enjoyable,” said Samantha.   For her second service project Samantha planted flowers, cleaned windows, and airplanes at the Hill Air Force Base Museum!  Samantha said, “I had a lot of fun doing this project especially because we got to clean the airplanes and that’s something you don’t normally get to do!” Samantha’s third service project was on Antelope Island where she cleared trails and painted tables and chairs in the picnic area. Samantha’s service highlights how volunteering can introduce you to new experiences and provide a sense of pride in your accomplishments.


Kaylin

US_SOS Kaylin Shelley for webRecently our Youth Volunteer Corps group has been on the look out for how we can give back to our community. We have three community kitchens that can always use the help of food and donations. One of them, the Bread of Life Community kitchen, is just starting out and is in constant need of food and money to keep the kitchen going. The people at the Bread of Life Community kitchen says that if it weren’t for the YVC’s efforts and donations, they would have a lot harder time keeping the kitchen running steadily. Our idea of getting food for them is simple: we go scavenger hunting. Cedar city is a small town and most everyone is nice and friendly so when we go and knock on their door asking for donations to give to the places in need, most everyone is eager to lend a helping hand (or can, if you will). The picture that is attached is a picture of our most successful scavenger hunt. We were able to get over 300 lbs of food and many bags of clothes and other helpful items for these shelters. We were very happy and very exhausted that day because it was a very hot day. In the month of June, however, we were able to get more than 600 lbs of food to our local Care and share, the Bread of Life community kitchen, and True Life center. We plan on doing even more scavenger hunts in the month of July!

US_SOS EmmaleeEmmaLee
I was able to volunteer at Camp Fife because my dad knew the guy (Blake) who was in charge of the camp staff. He said I could volunteer for a couple of weeks. Every morning, we started with a flag ceremony and some songs and cheers. I got to do the flag ceremony as part of the color guard. At the end of one day, we sung more songs, and helped the boys create cheers. There was one afternoon where we retired the colors. At the end of every day, we all had chores to do. I was usually given jobs for mopping and sweeping the halls and bathrooms. Overall, I had a lot of fun and got to know some new people, and learned some new skills. I plan on going back next year. I would like to be in charge of the archery or zip line station when I have enough experience and have been there long enough.

 

Thomas
US_SOS Thomas KlingonsmithMy experience as a volunteer as been amazing. For most of my volunteer work I serve at Thanksgiving Point. My duties during the year include facilitating museums and events and helping where needed. During the summer, I take the title of a Growing Leader. As a Growing Leader, I help with day camps. I love helping out.My favorite camp was a Lego Robotics camp. We had kids build NXT Robots to complete an obstacle course. They did various tasks and got points awarded for each one. There were tasks like opening doors and pushing levers. It was great fun. On the last day, we have a competition in which they compete to earn points. It was fun to see the kids react when they finished a task, especially in front of their parents. When they left, they all wanted to start their own competition teams. It was super cool to see. I’ve loved volunteering with Thanksgiving Point. Just the things they do for the community are awesome. I hope to keep helping and serving with them until I move away.

Meg
US_SOSMegI joined a club called MYCC (Murray Youth City Council) about halfway through the 2014-2015 school year. This club does a wide variety of different service projects. The club’s president, Anna Heaton, told me about the opportunity to be a part of the Summer of Service. Every Monday throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Red Cross to help them with a number of different needs such as packaging medical totes and bags. I loved every minute I spent volunteering for the Red Cross and really enjoyed meeting new friends there. I also helped pass out over 10,000 flags for the 4th of July parade to help bring awareness for the prevention of child abuse. Additionally, I volunteered at the Murray City Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament. My favorite volunteer experience of the summer would have to be The Relay for Life. The Relay for Life is an all night walk in Murray Park to raise money to help prevent cancer. I had the most amazing experiences there including singing karaoke in the middle of the night, painting tattoos for donations, and the candle lit walk in remembrance of loved ones who have lost there lives to cancer.

Mara
I love serving at the Scera. I get to meet new people and it’s like having a real job. It’s fun to do all the things an employee does-like run the cash register and help the moviegoers. I like helping people and the kids are always happy when I serve them their food. I think the Scera is a good place to serve because it helps lots of people in the community.

Audrey
US_SOSAudreyFor my summer, I have done two different service projects in July, one was volunteering at a local dog training center where I train and play with puppies from eight to noon. The other one was one that I did with my family where we would make burritos, package them, and ride our bikes around the streets to see if any hungry people wanted a fresh burrito.

James
James and Calvin are in their first year volunteering at This is the Place in the Pioneer Village. They dress up as pioneers and help guests. They answer questions, show them where to go, and get their pictures taken a lot. This month they’ve been able to show guests how to stamp leather

Kaitlyn
This summer I was originally planning on volunteering on several committees to get involved in my community and help those around me. Unfortunately, most of the youth service programs did not start until the upcoming fall. Although I was upset by this information, I decided that it wouldn’t stop me serving those in need. To begin with, I helped my family with extra tasks around the house, which eventually expanded to helping neighbors and the Draper community. Despite the satisfaction of volunteer work, I wanted to make my own personal impact to those around me. I decided that I could make use of my 12 years of dance training and experience and help local dancers in the area. Several girls on our local dance team were in need of choreography for solos to compete throughout the season. My friend Gracie and I were offered to help and were extremely excited to get to work. We spent approximately 1 week choreographing each solo, which amounts to almost 25 hours! In addition to choreographing dance solos, choreographers must cut music and teach the choreography to the dancer. At times both Gracie and I were discouraged by the work we still had ahead of us, but with each others encouragement we were able to finish. Both dancers were excited to continue working with their solo and were pleased with our work. This experience although challenging, was completely worth it. I hope as my friend and I continue to work with each dancer we are able to help them continue to grow and have fun in the process. Which for me, is the greatest gift offered in life.

 

Ellia
Several of my friends, siblings, and I had a bake sale to raise money so that we can buy Christmas presents for families in our neighborhood. The day before, we baked everything and made signs, then early the next morning we set everything up and started selling. When we first started doing bake sales, we would use the money for different projects. We made baby blankets that we donated to local charities, and we used the money on an angel tree before we decided to buy presents for different families. We have been doing this for three years now. When Christmas comes around, we go shopping and pick out presents that we think the kids will like, then we wrap them and doorbell ditch them. It’s something that we do every summer that we really enjoy, and we hope to be able to keep doing it!

Emilia
Every year, in the summertime, us and some of the neighborhood kids do a bake sale. A month before we start baking and selling, we plan the date of the bake sale, the time, the food we’re selling, when to bake the food, and the prices. A few days before the bake sale, we go shopping for the items we need and make the signs and posters. Two days before the bake sale, we make sure we have everything so we can start baking the next day. We usually sell brownies, soda, zucchini muffins, Otter Pops, snicker doodles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, homemade caramel, no-bake sweets, and Rice Crispy Treats. On the day of the bake sale we start getting ready early in the morning, and then we sell throughout the day. Every time our mailman comes around with mail we always give him some treats, but then he returns the favor by buying some more sweets! At the end of the day we count up the money and use it to buy Christmas presents for children in our immediate neighborhood. We have not yet reached what we were able to raised last year, but we will host another bake sale to raise enough to do what we hope to do this year. Last year we were able to buy presents for eleven children form five families. We love being able to serve our neighborhood and do the annual bake sale!

Summer of Service Participant volunteeringEzra
My siblings and I did a bake sale with our friends and neighbors. We started this Summer tradition about 3 years ago. It started as a way to spend time together with our friends doing something fun and meaningful. We decided to do it every year after our first one. We look forward to this every Summer. We baked on Friday and we sold on Saturday. We baked cookies, snicker doodles and muffins. We were out there selling for about 7 hours. We use the money to buy presents for children in the neighborhood whose families might be struggling. It is exciting to shop for them and to see them come to the doors excited to see presents at their doorsteps when we door bell ditch them every Christmas season. It’s a win win.

 

Skyler
US_SOSSkylerThis picture is of me volunteering today at the burrito project! Since the starting of summer volunteering has been a blast, hanging out with the rest of MYCC. We packaged bags for the Red Cross, helped with the Relay For Life, and the burrito Project. It’s been great and plan to continue!

 

Summer of Service

boy composting at a service project Summer of Service is Utah’s statewide initiative to celebrate and mobilize youth 5-25 to make a meaningful difference in their local communities by volunteering June 1 to August 31.

Why serve:

  • Make a difference in someone’s life
  • Learn new skills to build your resume
  • Keep active, stay busy, avoid boredom
  • Have fun and make new friends
  • Earn a Presidential Service Award

Where:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Faith Based Organizations
  • Community Events
  • Government Agencies and Schools
  • Individuals (neighbors, family, others)

Find Volunteer Opportunities:

Web: Youth Service Directory or State Directory
Phone: 2-1-1 from home phone or 801-736-8929

Qualify for Prizes:

Each month, qualifying youth are entered into a drawing for prizes. Drawings are held at the end of June, July and August. To qualify, youth must:

  • volunteer a minimum of 10 hours and track hours through our website (coming soon)
  • submit a video or photo with story submitted to Katie Barlow at kbarlow@utah.gov.
  • additional submissions for prizes for following/liking us on social media. Use #utsos16 to tag your photos and videos.

How to Track Hours Online:

  • Online tracking will be available June 1

How to Earn Presidential Service Recognition:

The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is a premier volunteer awards program.  Youth are invited to participate and be recognized by our nation’s president for being active citizens. Along with the ultimate honor of presidential recognition, recipients will receive a personalized certificate, an official pin and a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States. Youth must complete the following amount of hours June 1 to August 31 for the PVSA:

  • Kids 5-12 (50 hours)
  • Youth 13-18 (75 hours)
  • Young Adults 19-25 (100 hours)

Summer of Service Prize Winners!

Click here to see last summers prize winners!

Need Help?

Call Katie Barlow at 801-245-7281 for more information

Thank You Sponsors!

Chuck-A-Rama
Logan Aquatic Center
Roy Aquatic Center
Salt Lake County Ice Center

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Celebrate Global Youth Service Day

Global Youth Service Day recognizes the positive impact that young people have on their communities 365 days a year. GYSD is celebrated in more than 135 countries with youth-led service projects and community events.

During the weekend of April 17 – 19, the world calls on all young people to find their voice, take action, and make an impact on community issues and celebrates the countless contributions that youth make to their communities. Learn more about GYSD events around the world at www.GYSD.org.

The goals of Global Youth Service Day are:

  • To mobilize youth to lead community change –meeting needs and solving problems – through awareness, service, advocacy, and philanthropy activities.
  • To connect young people to their communities and help build global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a lifetime of meaningful service, learning, and leadership.
  • To educate the public, including the media and policymakers, about the urgency and power of engaging young people as community leaders.