Project Highlights – Day of Caring, 2014

heather-macdonaldby Heather MacDonald
Volunteer and Community Engagement Director

Every year on Day of Caring, I love that I have the opportunity to support an event that highlights our community’s generosity and kindness. If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate as a volunteer on Day of Caring, here is an example of just a few great projects that happened this year.

CHG volunteers spent their morning beautifying Cottonwood High School by removing large weeds from the planters at the end zones of the football stadium and spreading bark in the planters in the student parking lot. Volunteers also sanded and painted the railings of the football stadium to help prevent rust and wear.

DSC_3985DSC_3996 At South Kearns Elementary, volunteers from DMC came out and read books with students in every class at the school. The volunteers were able to donate the books they read with the students so that every child was able to take a book home to add to their personal library.

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GE Healthcare sent hundreds of volunteers to Kearns High School where they were able to completely clean and update the community garden space, build new tables in the greenhouse, and talk to students in their classrooms about college and career opportunities that are available to them. GE volunteers even provided demonstrations of an x-ray machine and another machine that allows surgeons to see inside your sinuses while performing surgery. Kearns High Community School Director sums up the day perfectly.

“I feel that I now understand the vision and have experienced what true collective impact is.  For me personally, it was beyond amazing to see what a difference can be made when you are able to bring in the generous resources, expertise and enthusiasm of a company like GE Healthcare to a school like Kearns High.”

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Thank you to American Express, ATC, CHASE, CHG Healthcare Services, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints Foundation, KSL, GE, Hexcel Corporation, Questar, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, and Wells Fargo for sponsoring our 22nd annual Day of Caring.

It’s not too late to turn your Day of Caring into a year of service. Visit uw.org/volunteer, or dial 2-1-1, to learn about upcoming volunteer events and how you can volunteer all year long.

Donor Networks Volunteer on Day of Caring!

United Way of Salt Lake would like to thank all the members of our dedicated Donor Networks, who spent time volunteering on Day of Caring! Leadership Circle and Young Leaders spent the day at Granger Elementary reading with and tutoring some amazing kids, while Women’s Leadership Council spent the day at Granite Park Jr. High talking about their careers and education!

Here are what a few of our members had to say about their experience on Day of Caring:

Leadership Circle

Prior to attending Day of Caring with Leadership Circle at Granger Elementary, I attended a business meeting at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. When I walked into the meeting, four other people were there in their LIVING UNITED t-shirts. We all talked about where we were headed after the meeting for Day of Caring. Some were painting, some were weeding, some were reading to school kids. It was great to be in a meeting with a lot of people in shirts and ties and business attire with us in our LIVE UNITED shirts. Great Stuff!David Smith, Leadership Circle Member

IMG_9755 IMG_9754Young Leaders

Young Leaders spent this year’s Day of Caring reading and doing learning activities with kids at Granger Elementary School. I had the pleasure of reading with Sebastian and Aaron. Their enthusiasm for learning was infectious and their cute smiles and laughter made my morning.

After reading, the teacher told the kids to clear off their desks and then she proceeded to squirt a small pile of shaving cream on each one of their desks. I was both shocked and amazed. Who in their right mind would give shaving cream to kindergarten kids? Don’t we normally try and keep that stuff away from them? Boy was I wrong. She then proceeded to show the kids how they could draw in the shaving cream with their fingers and make letters and shapes. The kids loved it! They showed us what letters they knew and we prompted them to make different shapes and designs. I loved how the teacher incorporated this creative idea to help the children practice the important skills they are learning everyday. It was a great morning and I wish that I could spend every morning volunteering in that classroom with those kindergarten kids.Greg Summerhays, Young Leaders Chair

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Never forget that it is the choices you make every day that will determine your future. Every day, you make a choice to do your homework or not to do it. Make the smart choices!” This advice from Women’s Leadership Council member Cathy Angstman was only one of several gems passed on to Granite Park Jr. High students by WLC members for Day of Caring. Members came out on Thursday to speak to the 9th grade class about their own careers and education, focused on what kids can be doing right now in order to prepare for a brighter future.

Tania Miller shared some of her own experiences in junior high, especially feelings of not belonging and feeling like she didn’t fit in. But, she said, “we cannot dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, because everyone around you is also going through something. What’s important is to not let negativity drag you down, but to channel that into something positive. Show up. Do the work. Achieve.

When the panel had finished, even the teachers came up to WLC members afterwards, saying that the advice they gave out about lessons long learned was good to hear even as an adult. WLC member, Melisse Grey, summed it up well by saying, “We had great energy at the Granite Park Jr. High panel, from both the presenters and the audience!” Thank you to all of the amazing women who came out to inspire the kids at GPJH!

WLC Panel I WLC Panel IVThank you to all of our Donor Network members for a great Day of Caring!

Thank You for The Most Successful Day of Caring Yet!

Chelsesa Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

Day of Caring 2014 has come and gone, and it was by far, UWSL’s biggest and best yet! If you were one of the 5,700 volunteers that participated by reading to kids, planting flowers at a Neighborhood Centers, painting murals at Community Schools, or helping with any one of the 135 projects – WE THANK YOU! This year, over 130 companies participated with their employees, showing our community that they are committed to LIVING UNITED!

To put it into perspective, volunteer efforts accumulated over 25,000 hours and saved our community approximately $525,000 dollars! The difference that this one day of service made for kids, families, schools, and other organizations is huge – and all of our volunteers should be very proud of their efforts.

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Not only did we have volunteers making a difference all over the valley, we also had volunteers stuffing backpacks with school supplies for 8,500 kids! Stuff the Bus was incredibly successful, and now thousands of at-risk kids are able to start this school year with the tools they need to be successful. Pads of paper, pencils, and crayons may seem like simple things – but to the kids who receive the backpacks, they truly make a difference!

If you weren’t able to join us for Day of Caring or Stuff the Bus – you can still make an impact! By simply texting SLKIDS to 50555, you can easily donate $10 to help provide school supplies to at-risk kids in our community. Pick up your phone and donate today!

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And if you are anxious to get a jump start on Day of Caring 2015, we are already asking people to sign up! Visit our website and commit to joining us next year – see how inspiring it is seeing thousands of LIVE UNITED t-shirts all around the valley making a difference! Join us!

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For more photos from Day of Caring 2014, visit our Instagram and Twitter (@uwsl) or our Facebook page! Also, follow hashtag #DOC2014. More photos to come!

Harland Clarke – Leading By Example

Megan Richardsby Megan Richards
Community Investment Advisor

You are going to have so much fun working with Harland Clarke” – this was how I was introduced by my United Way colleague, to the fun and passionate Community Involvement Team at Harland Clarke Customer Contact Center. And, it was true!  The leadership team at Harland Clarke takes the idea of leading by example to heart. Harland Clarke exemplifies what it means to GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER in both its workplace and our community.

Chaundale Cook leads the team with enthusiasm and jumped right in when I called about holding a Stuff the Bus school supply drive. She hung posters and encouraged her co-workers to share when there were coupons and sales for school supplies. The Center has just 230 employees but they gathered over 11,300 items for Stuff the Bus!

With boxes and boxes of donated supplies, the leadership team rolled up their sleeves and volunteered their time to sorting not only their own items, but also piles of items donated from other Stuff the Bus drives. It was incredible to watch this group of 25 swarm into our Stuff the Bus headquarters at The Gateway and divide thousands of school supplies for 8,500 at-risk kids into categories so that they are ready to be stuffed into backpacks during our Day of Caring on September 11 (tomorrow!).

084-sorting HC pic-LORES It is truly amazing the kind of results that are possible when we work together. Thank you, Harland Clarke Customer Contact Center and the Community Involvement Team, for diving in and getting things done to help change the odds for kids and families in our community! You are great examples of how to LIVE UNITED!
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GIVE10 – Text to Give $10 and Help At-Risk Kids!

Chelsesa Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

This is a big week for Untied Way of Salt Lake! On Thursday, we will be hosting the 22nd Annual Day of Caring. This community volunteer event gets bigger and better each year and we are thrilled that we have over 5,700 volunteers participating this week!

We also know that not everyone is able to make it out for this day of service. But never fear! We have a great way for those in our community to stay involved, even if they can’t volunteer in person, to help change the odds for at-risk kids.

By texting SLKIDS to 50555, you can easily donate $10
to help stuff a backpack with school supplies!

On Day of Caring, UWSL will be hosting a public project called Stuff the Bus, which will provide 8,500 students school supplies to start the school year ready to learn. Your $10 helps get school supplies to kids that need them most!

Don’t miss out on this HUGE day of community service!
Pick up your phone and donate – and don’t forget, help spread the word!

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5Ks and Chili Cook-offs! Hexcel Knows How to LIVE UNITED!

Mike Wattsby Mike Watts
Community Investment Advisor

It is always so exciting to see a company who knows how to have a little fun with its employee giving campaign! This summer, Hexcel employees put on a fun-filled workplace giving campaign to help United Way of Salt Lake change the odds for kids and families. The enthusiasm and generosity that Hexcel employees showed during the campaign was greatly appreciated. I was invited to present to the hardworking employees about our work during their safety/update meetings. They even gave me my own pair of fashionable, yet functional, safety glasses and stressed the importance of safety on the job and off.

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Hexcel is a longstanding Cornerstone partner and also provides a company match to employee pledges. Hexcel even matches the money raised at events from the Hot-Dog-A-Palooza to the big Chili Cook Off and the 5K run. Did I mention they know how to have fun?

Hexcel’s employees and leadership truly represent the type of engagement that United Way of Salt Lake relies on to change the odds for kids at-risk kids in our community. Hexcel’s extraordinary involvement will not only make a difference today, but for years to come!

Thank you Hexcel for LIVING UNITED!

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Staff Spotlight! New Hire: Alexx Goeller

Alexx Goellerby Alexx Goeller
Collective Impact Administrative Assistant

My name is Alexx Goeller and I am the new Collective Impact Administrative Assistant. I just spent the last two years living as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mysterious land of Africa. To me, it was Senegal; it was home. I arrived back in Utah this past May. After one week of being home, I was feeling culture-shocked, out of place, and in need of something to occupy my time; the job hunt began. When I originally read about United Way of Salt Lake, I was immediately struck by the similarities to the United States Peace Corps. The goal of United Way is to change the odds for at-risk kids and families and that work is accomplished through Collective Impact by aligning individuals with programs that will give families more affordable access to healthcare, financial independence, and quality education.

AlexxThe Peace Corps seeks to promote world peace and friendship while also fulfilling specific goals within identified sectors. My sector was Community Economic Development and our objectives were to create income-generating activities while working alongside the health, agriculture, and education programs to result in a rounded out program that could ensure sustainable change.

The mission of United Way of Salt Lake sucked me in immediately and I knew I had to get involved. Collective Impact is a term commonly used at United Way of Salt Lake and in the Peace Corps that term is known as cross-sector collaboration. Without the alignment of organizations and individuals from all relevant areas, true, sustainable change cannot happen.

I have personally seen what can and, more importantly, what cannot happen in communities when only one system is in place. I have seen young groups of girls in Senegal who, through the cooperation of health clinics, teachers, and Peace Corps volunteers teaching life skills (how to balance a checkbook, how to save money, how to write a resume) transform their lives.

I am proud of my Peace Corps experience and now I can continue to be proud when saying that I work for United Way of Salt Lake. I work for an organization that is truly changing the lives of children and families through Community Schools, advocacy work, meaningful partnerships, volunteering and so much more — allowing kids to be successful from cradle to career, regardless of their circumstances.