South Salt Lake: United for the Common Good

(Photo: Chris Snyder, South Salt Lake Chief of Police and Domoina Voniarisoa, Hser Ner Moo Project Coordinator)

Kari Cutler is one of the many community partners working in South Salt Lake. Here is what she had to say about the United Way of Salt Lake and South Salt Lake neighborhood partnership:

“It is difficult to express the impact the centers have made. Yes, there have been a number of events, projects and shows that the centers have hosted, but it is the stories of the individual youth that make all of the hours and work of the staff and partnering agencies worth the time and effort.

One example is a 9th grade youth that moved to South Salt Lake from L.A. where he was born and raised with a “gangster” mentality. He had been involved in drugs and violence for years. His first couple of days at the center he found himself in the office speaking with the coordinator about his poor attitude and decisions. By the end of the school year, staff had witnessed a 180 degree change as he was the “cool” kid and a mentor for all of the younger youth at the Center. He talked kids out of fighting, on one occasion he sat down with a 6th grader who knew he was in over his head because of his poor behavior and helped this 6th grader come to the coordinator and sincerely apologize. Another time he had five 6th graders hanging on him while he was on the monkey bars all laughing and trying to get him to fall off. The last week of school he again spent hours in coordinators office-only now it was because he wanted to be there, he knew he was safe at the Center and benefited by its programs.

Another youth came consistently after-school each day and was diligent in working on her homework. She had struggled with mathematics all year, but found her math grade improve each term with her diligence and willingness to let the Center benefit her life. It is impossible to describe the satisfaction that came to all of the staff when this 7th grade girl ran to the program to announce that she received an A in math.”

While the city has its challenges, by LIVING UNITED, South Salt Lake is a place where all resident, even those facing the toughest odds, have opportunities for a better life.

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