Leadership Circle Inspires Kids at Central Park and Granite Park Junior High

drew_martinezby Drew Martinez
Leadership Giving Director

Leadership Circle members had a unique opportunity to talk to kids at Central Park Community Center (FKA PAL Boxing Center) and Granite Park Junior High about the road to their careers and life lessons learned along the way. This was our first volunteer opportunity for Leadership Circle and it was a great way to start things off! I was so impressed by the challenges some of our Leadership Circle members faced and how they were able to overcome and become the impressive men and women they are today. The kids were asking great questions and were genuinely interested in what these inspirational men and women had to say. Below are some life lessons the kids at Central Park learned from some of our Leadership Circle members.

“Life is all about choices. Your circumstances only determine your starting point. Take advantage of what you have around you. You have time to be and do something great. The difference between success and failure is the number of people you impact, and the time you invest doing what you are passionate about.” Inspirational words from Michael Anglin from UPS!

“Be on time. Do more than what is expected. Ask how I can help.” These are some of the life and career lessons Cossette Morton from Wells Fargo Bank shared with the kids, along with some great mini footballs!

“Get your foot in the door at a company and the opportunities are endless. Work hard. Get involved in extracurricular activities during school to stay active, make friends, keep out of trouble, and better yourself. Find ways to separate yourself from others when applying for jobs.” Some great nuggets of wisdom, shared by Ed Fowler from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

What great advice! On behalf of the kids and staff at Central Park Community Center and Granite Park Junior High, and United Way of Salt Lake, thank you Leadership Circle volunteers for participating in these career presentations. You are great examples for all of us and truly show what it means to LIVE UNITED!

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South Salt Lake Easter Egg Hunt–Another Huge Success!

ashley_2011by Ashley Hillman
Community Collaborations Director

With dew still on the green grass and sun shining, children anxiously waited with baskets in hand for the annual South Salt Lake Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30. This year, the City of SSL organized a Health Fair prior to the Easter egg hunt and held a dedication ceremony for a new fitness room at PAL Boxing Center.


The South Salt Lake Early Learning Network (ELN) participated in the Health Fair, administering the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to help families understand their child’s development. In turn, the surveys will also help the ELN better know how to meet the needs of the community. Children’s Service Society, Help Me Grow, and United Way of Salt Lake provided information about the ELN and connected families to resources in their community at the event. Each parent/caregiver who completed an ASQ was given a Walmart gift card. Volunteers from the community, including K2 Church which is located in South Salt Lake, helped administer surveys. A highlight of the event, besides the Easter egg hunt itself, was Help Me Grow’s play area with colorful blocks of all shapes and sizes. Children and adults alike were drawn to the bright colors and spent some time on the floor building shapes and architectural wonders!

We would like to thank the City of SSL, the SSL community, members of the Early Learning Network, and all the amazing volunteers for helping make this a successful event!

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Young Leaders and Volunteers are Appreciated at PAL!

heather_macdonald_1by Heather MacDonald
Volunteer and Community Engagement Director

On Thursday, February 21st Young Leaders and new volunteers were treated to a special day! The youth at PAL Boxing Center came together to throw a special Volunteer Appreciation event to celebrate the hard work and dedication that Young Leaders and other volunteers have provided to their program. This meant that instead of supervising activities, the volunteers got to enjoy the fun and games.

The youth at PAL love Minute-to-Win-it style games and we were able to participate in some of their favorites like a hula hooping contest and a three legged race. As a thank you to all Young Leaders, we received a framed t-shirt signed by PAL youth and staff. It was an honor to be a part of such a fun day and to hear them talk about the impact volunteers have in their lives. Here is what a few of the volunteers had to say about the event:

I had a wonderful experience spending the evening with students at the PAL Boxing Center in South Salt Lake. During the visit, we played games with students, including a game I’ve never heard of or seen that involved a pair of nylons, golf balls, and water bottles. It was a very interesting and fun game. It clearly wasn’t a game where I shined through! I appreciated the opportunity to connect with students (many who attend Granite Park Jr. High) in a different setting. It was great to see how much they all enjoyed their time at the Center and with each other. It brings me joy to know that these students have a place they can go after school where they are supported in their personal and academic endeavors. –Carmela Castandea

Recently, we spent time with students at the PAL Boxing Community and Welcome Center in South Salt Lake.  This center provides tutoring services, boxing programs, and other afterschool enrichment experiences for children from schools in the surrounding neighborhoods. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with the students through games and was impressed to see how much they enjoyed being at the Center.  For these kids, the Center provides more than just programming.  It is an opportunity for them to cultivate relationships with their peers and further engage in their community.  Through these programs, students are able to participate in activities that can help them achieve their potential.  I admire the students’ energy and their desire to be a part of a program that supports their personal and academic growth. –Chris Ellis

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If you are a Young Leader or have considered becoming a Young Leader, we invite you to join us on the third Thursday of each month between 3:00 -7:00 p.m. to participate in homework help, Kids Café, boxing, and recreation activities at PAL. For more information about becoming a Young Leader please contact Cristi Wetterberg at cristi@uw.org or 801.746.2569. To sign up as a volunteer please contact Heather MacDonald at heather@uw.org or 801.736.7715.

Fairchild Semiconductor LIVES UNITED!

by Kip Crawford
Fairchild Semiconductor

This year, Fairchild Semiconductor employees were able to volunteer at PAL Boxing Center.  PAL Boxing Center has an afterschool program that offers children a place to do their homework as well as stay active when not in school.  The PAL staff is very dedicated to their jobs and the children enjoy being around them.  During our time there, we played our own version of “Minute to Win It,” which was a lot of fun!

The children and the Fairchild staff were split up into groups and we competed against each other in various games.  The kids really worked well in teams and were motivating their teammates to complete the different games.  After we were done playing games, the staff told the children that it was time for “Kids Cafe.” I was amazed when I saw all of the kids work together to get tables and chairs out for their after school meal.  Once that was over with, half of the children went to their boxing lesson while the other half stayed with us to play dodge ball.  By far this was my favorite activity and I think it was the children’s favorite as well.  Everyone was cheering on their teammates to win the most epic battle of dodge ball in the history of dodge ball!

Something so simple as a game of dodge ball can teach kids to work as a team, and that’s exactly what they did.  In the end there was no clear winner, each team equally won the same amount of games.  I really enjoyed my time at PAL Boxing Center.  The kids were great and the staff was amazing.  I hope I get another opportunity to help out at PAL and I’m always happy to volunteer with the United Way of Salt Lake.

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A huge thanks to the employees from Fairchild Semiconductor who took the time to volunteer in the community! Fairchild Semiconductor really knows what it means to LIVE UNITED!

Young Leaders Volunteer at PAL Boxing Community and Welcome Center

by Sheldon Byde
Young Leader, Guest Blogger

One of the monthly volunteer opportunities for Young Leaders happens at the South Salt Lake Police Athletic Activities League (PAL) Boxing Center. While PAL welcomes volunteers any weekday afternoon, a group of Young Leaders will be volunteering at PAL on the third Thursday of each month from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Volunteers will tutor students from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and then help with a variety of recreational or athletic activities after the kids take a break for a meal.

On October 18th, four Young Leaders volunteered at PAL. Even though the third Thursday of October fell on fall break this year, we were met by about 25 girls and boys excited to see new faces. The PAL coordinators had set up a series of “minute-to-win-it” games in the gymnasium, so the kids and volunteers got to do those activities instead of the normal hour of homework. Afterwards, the kids sat down for a meal provided by the Utah Food Bank’s Kids Cafe program.

The boxing coach and staff at PAL were very welcoming to volunteers. Everyone emphasized that the kids participating in the boxing program were required to maintain good grades. Any assistance they receive with school work allows them to maintain the standards necessary to participate in the program, which in turn provides a structured after-school athletic activity in a safe environment. They also assured us that volunteers did not need to be boxers! There was a coach and trained staff to direct the boxing, but PAL staff organized other activities in the gym for the kids (and volunteers) that weren’t interested in the competitive boxing program.

Check out the United Way of Salt Lake’s PAL Boxing Community and Welcome Center at http://www.sslpal.org/. A group of Young Leaders will be headed to PAL Boxing Center on the third Thursday of each month to volunteer. Please contact Heather MacDonald at heather@uw.org for more information on how to get involved.

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KeyBank Employees Join the Fight (literally) to LIVE UNITED!

by Drew Martinez
Resource Development Executive

This year KeyBank kicked off their United Way of Salt Lake campaign by hitting the mat to raise money to help change the odds so every child has the same chance to succeed in school and life.  My name is Drew Martinez and I get the pleasure of working with KeyBank and their workplace campaign.  This was one of my first campaigns after joining the United Way of Salt Lake team, and what a way to kick it all off!

KeyBank put so much hard work into this great mock sumo wrestling event.  They actually held it in the boxing ring at the PAL Boxing and Welcome Center in South Salt Lake, one of the United Way of Salt Lake’s Neighborhood Centers.  The employees grabbed lunch, bid on a silent auction, put their sumo suits on, and then threw down.  The title match was in fact UWSL’s very own board member and President for the Utah district of KeyBank, Jill Taylor.

Although I was biting my fingernails hoping nobody got hurt, it was a very fun event that raised a lot of money!  I am so grateful to the PAL Boxing and Welcome Center for allowing the event in their facility, and of course, to KeyBank for organizing the event.  KeyBank runs a great campaign to raise funds to benefit our community, and this event was such a fun addition. Thank you KeyBank for suiting up and throwing down to join others in LIVING UNITED!

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Free Lunch: Throwing punches helps kids shine in and out of the boxing ring

by Ashley Hillman
Community Collaborations Director

United Way of Salt Lake is partnering with the City of South Salt Lake, Granite School District, and multiple community partners to support a comprehensive cradle-to-career pipeline for youth and families in South Salt Lake. Nine community centers serve as “hubs” of programs, services, and activities that ensure children are ready for kindergarten, kids are developing on track, students enroll in and graduate from college, families are financially stable, and families develop health behaviors and lifestyles. PAL Boxing Center is one of these nine Centers that provides tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment activities for youth in SSL. The collaboration with the South Salt Lake Police Department has been integral to the success of the program.

Check out this great article about PAL Boxing Center by Cathy Free at the Deseret News!

Free Lunch: Throwing punches helps kids shine in and out of the boxing ring >>