RICOH Fulfills a Promise of Year Round Engagement!

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by Zenia Frandt                                                                       Leadership Giving Director Women’s Leadership Council/Tocqueville Society

RICOH (Formerly known as Ikon) has been running a United Way campaign for many years. Having always been terrific supporters of our work, they recently welcomed a United Way of Salt Lake representative to share our new message about collective impact, and how our neighborhood centers are changing the odds in the Salt Lake area.

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DOC 2012 037Not only does RICOH run a United Way campaign, they also always get a group together to give back to the community on our annual Day of Caring. This year, RICOH is taking it a step further. They have agreed to not only support the important work United Way of Salt Lake is doing only once a year, during the campaign season, but throughout the year as well! This kind of “year round engagement” recognizes that there is always more to be done, and that stepping out of the daily grind to give back to your community even when it ISN’T the yearly UW drive will benefit not only the children and families who need it, but the company and employees who are giving as well. It truly is good for the well-being of all.

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RICOH employees will be at our Granger Elementary Neighborhood Center in May, working with a United Way of Salt Lake/Utah Food Bank partnership. We wish them a rewarding experience, and thank them for LIVING UNITED! 

Guadalupe School Beats the Odds

Imageby Brandon Elwood                                                                                            Guadalupe Community School Director

Guadalupe expects 2013-14 to be another banner year as it continues it’s ascent to a 90/90/90 school. As a 90/90/90 school, Guadalupe aims to be one in which more than 90 percent of students are low income, more than 90 percent are minority students, and more than 90 percent of students meet high academic standards on state assessments.   Recently, the Utah State Office of Education released a report to charter schools detailing performance during the 2012-2013 school year. As a public charter school, Guadalupe School received this report and noted a number of significant gains. The report compared Guadalupe with the Salt Lake School District (SLCSD), which shares the same geographical boundaries. Image Guadalupe shined in a number of categories, including overall growth and mathematics proficiency. However, the gains in literacy were the most jaw dropping. Guadalupe truly beat the odds in literacy, as demonstrated by data collected among the 1st – 3rd graders in the DIBELS literacy assessment. Guadalupe began the year with 53 percent of students meeting benchmark in literacy compared to 67 percent for SLCSD.  After a year of rigorous literacy intervention, Guadalupe finished the year tied with SLCSD at 71 percent. As a school, Guadalupe outperformed the district due to the fact that they started well behind and ended up finishing at the same place. This is even more significant when you consider the following numbers:

Low Income Students: Guadalupe – 100%, SLCSD – 64%

English Language Learners: Guadalupe – 67%, SLCSD – 26%

Ethnic Minority: Guadalupe – 96%, SLCSD – 58%

Congrats to Guadalupe School for all their hard work! Read more about 90-90-90 Schools here.

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2014 Young Leaders Member of the Year

Image by Tony Hull

The Young Leaders Member of the Year exemplifies outstanding commitment to creating lasting change by promoting philanthropy and civic engagement with the next generation of business and community leaders.

When you walk up to the second floor of the Guadalupe School with Christy Thayne, you immediately and simultaneously feel two sensations – one awesome and one awful.

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You are left in awe at how she finds a way to fit in, how she’s included, admired, and enjoyed by the children she interacts with. They love her. They love when she comes to spend time with them. You can see the emotion in their eyes and their smiles as they run up and hug her and hang on her for attention. She loves the kids and they know it. They know she enjoys being there and being with them. She knows their names and gives them individual attention. It is truly awesome. But then you feel awful that you haven’t been there enough, and haven’t given back enough. Christy has motivated so many because she makes us all want to come back, do better, love more, and give more. She is a devoted member who consistently inspires the rest of us to LIVE UNITED.

That is what makes Christy beyond deserving of the Young Leaders Member of the Year award. Congratulations Christy, you are such a wonderful example to the rest of us! Thank you for all you do! 

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Celebration of Service Honoree, President’s Award for Excellence: Representative Greg Hughes

Chelsea Nelsonby Chelsea Nelson
Digital Marketing Director

This month on The Hub, we are excited to do a weekly feature on the honorees for the upcoming Celebration of Service event on Tuesday, May 20! This yearly event is when United Way of Salt Lake has the great privilege to honor outstanding individuals and organizations in our neighborhoods and communities. These people and organizations are truly making a difference, proving every day what it means to LIVE UNITED. We hope you will join us in celebration of their contributions at this fun and inspiring event (to RSVP and find out more info, click the link above).

This week, we are thrilled to announce the President’s Award for Excellence: Representative Greg Hughes, Utah House of Representatives.

This award recognizes individuals or organizations that champion United Way of Salt Lake’s efforts to create lasting change in our community through their collaboration, leadership, commitment, resources, and time spent working to solve community problems. The award demonstrates outstanding commitment to the mission of United Way of Salt Lake.

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 10.47.56 AMTo truly solve complex social problems, United Way of Salt Lake works with state leaders to influence public policy decisions. There is no greater example of that collaboration than the work led by Representative Greg Hughes, who sponsored and helped pass HB96, the Utah School Readiness Initiative. In collaboration with UWSL and many community partners, Representative Hughes championed the country’s first piece of legislation that creates a pay-for-success model for high-quality preschool. The $3 million secured by Representative Hughes for this initiative will ensure more of Utah’s at-risk, low-income kids start school ready to learn. This innovative post-performance model ensures taxpayer dollars are only spent on programs that get results. Representative Hughes poured his heart and soul into ensuring the passage of HB96 and had tremendous success working with and encouraging his colleagues to pass this important legislation!

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 10.47.26 AMIt is with great gratitude and admiration that United Way of Salt Lake honors Representative Greg Hughes with the 2014 President’s Award for Excellence!

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Caradigm Helps Change the Odds for Kids at Lincoln Elementary!

timby Tim Harrison
Community Investment Advisor

Last week, Caradigm employees wrapped up a nationwide campaign to help local United Ways.  Our small but passionate group of Caradigm supporters (located in Draper, Utah) jumped at the opportunity to get its team engaged in the work.

Caradigm employees wanted to volunteer to help our Neighborhood Centers, but they have a busy schedule and many folks working hard on the phones, which makes it difficult to get away from the office. Rather than making that an easy excuse not to volunteer, they asked if we could bring the project to them.

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We were able to find an opportunity that was perfect for them. Lincoln Elementary Community School needed hundreds of “science readers” to distribute and use with each student in its school. With such a focus on literacy and numeracy, it is difficult for teachers to fit science into their curriculum, especially when reading and math skills are low. These readers are catered to the student’s reading level, so they can excel in science without falling behind or getting frustrated by advanced vocabulary and syntax. And by receiving their own paper readers, the students are able to mark up their reading, which increases their ability to retain information.

We brought them over 11,000 sheets of paper, and in only a few days, we had hundreds of perfectly folded and stapled science readers ready to move the needle on science and reading scores at Lincoln Elementary. The Lincoln staff was thrilled to see the final product, which is evident from the thank you card below!

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It was successful campaign full of volunteering and fun activities (popcorn and root beer floats!), we appreciate the enthusiasm and generosity Caradigm employees showed this month! Thank you for LIVING UNITED!

Get Involved with WLC and Mentoring!

by Jamie Schwarzenbach
Women’s Leadership Council Member

As trees begin to bud and the weather warms up, many of us are planning our summer vacations and waiting for the snow to melt. A few weeks ago, a group of Women’s Leadership Council members met to learn about some new volunteer activities that will kickoff this spring. With new opportunities to mentor at-risk kids, there are volunteer options that fit into everyone’s schedule.

The “Get Connected, Get Involved” networking and informational meeting opened with some heart-warming thank you letters from the students at Granite Park Junior High. Students expressed their gratitude for the college funding and financial literacy lessons that WLC volunteers have provided over the past several months. Most of the students don’t have any family members or friends that have been to college, so these presentations give students hope that a college degree is attainable for them. These presentations also give students the skills needed to navigate the process.

Jamie Schwarzenbach IWLC members were excited to learn about the Mentor 2.0 program, which is a mentoring opportunity that will serve 75 10th-grade students at Cottonwood High School. These students are primarily refugees or first-generation college students that came to Cottonwood High from Granite Park Junior High. The Mentor 2.0 program is a partnership between United Way of Salt Lake and Big Brothers Big Sisters and will connect busy executive level mentors to students electronically. The school has found that students are more open in an email setting than they are face-to-face. Mentors will help students with their weekly topic though email, and then meet in person once a month to solidify what they have learned. This is a great opportunity for those who want to get involved with a mentoring program, but need a more flexible schedule and time commitment (approximately 3-4 hours per month).

During the meeting, we also learned about a short-term commitment with a big impact. We learned that over 87 percent of students at Cottonwood High have failed at least one core class needed for graduation. Volunteers can help get students back on track by helping them complete credit recovery packets, which are offered as a final chance for students to get the math, science, and other core credits they need to graduate. Many of the students in the at-risk group do not have family resources to help them with the packets, so the volunteers can help give them the confidence and encouragement they need to work through the assignments and complete them on time. The 9th Grade Credit and Recovery program starts soon and will be ongoing throughout the summer. There is a flexible schedule with a variety of one-hour time slots each week. The goal of this program is to get 100 percent of at-risk students on track to graduate, and there are over 175 students that could use your help! Just one hour of your time will help a student graduate from high school.

So, while you are scheduling camps and summer vacations, schedule some time to reach out to WLC and learn more about how you can help make a lasting difference for kids in our community.

Paulette Cary IIFor more information about the Women’s Leadership Council, or to sign up to volunteer please contact Zenia Frendt, Leadership Giving Director of the Women’s Leadership Council, at zenia@uw.org or (801) 736-7708.

Building Bridges to Health Access

caroline_morenoby Caroline Goldman Moreno
Community Collaborations Director

With the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion in the news, health care is a hot topic these days. Those who work in the field grapple with such large and systemic issues such as cost of care, health disparities, and data sharing and privacy. There are other movements in health care now as well, and a recent conference called Building Bridges, sponsored by the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare, aimed to highlight one of these hot topics: integrating communities into health care decisions.

In the keynote presentation, Suzanne Bakken of Columbia University, offered insightful strategies about community engagement in medical research and the importance of two-way communication. How can researchers engage with communities in a meaningful way for both parties? How should researchers and medical staff present their findings back to participating populations? Bakken focused on health literacy – or the lack thereof – in many of our communities, and how this lack of knowledge about health, health services, and health systems can often impede people from accessing much needed care. Working with the WICER (Washington Heights Informatics Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research) Project at Columbia, Bakken gathered focus groups in Washington Heights, New York to test which visualizations of their health spoke to people and made them more likely to change their behaviors.

Think of it this way: you’re busy and you have information overload. In one email, you receive a 5-page letter describing how to live a healthier life. In a second email, you receive a color diagram of your personalized blood pressure reading and how your high blood pressure could be affecting your vision, your kidneys, or your chances of stroke or heart attack. Which grabs your attention? Which actually has a better chance of getting you to the doctor’s office?

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Health Literacy emerged again and again at our South Salt Lake Health Council committee meetings as well. The council, sponsored by Promise South Salt Lake, has three committees. Ours is working on increasing access to health care and health insurance for South Salt Lake residents.

As the folks at Columbia University demonstrated, better information can lead people to make the decision to go to the doctor and take better care of themselves.