by John Davidson
Guest Blogger

I was very glad to be one of the volunteers on United Way of Salt Lake’s Day of Caring! We had the opportunity to go to Hser Ner Moo, one of United Way of Salt Lake’s Community Learning and Welcome Centers, and learn a little bit about what what they do and how they got their start. It was great to see that a Community Learning Center such as this was located right inside a large apartment complex. This facility provided child care, education programs, parenting classes, and ELS courses just to name a few. It was a great opportunity to see what the efforts of United Way of Salt Lake and their donors have built over the years.

One thing that struck me particularly hard was something the director of the location said. She told us that one of the most common things the center helps with is helping people read and respond to their mail. I really thought about that and imagined how hard it would be to live in a place where everything (including your mail/ bills) were in a language you didn’t understand and how difficult that would be. To most of us, reading our mail could be seen as a bother–but to those who may not be able to read in the local language, it can be like being lost and not knowing how to ask for directions.

Our project consisted of entering data from surveys that had been distributed to a few of the local schools in the area. These schools were located in low-income neighborhoods and some of the information that came through on those surveys was very eye-opening. Some households had families of six or more living off of 10-20 thousand a year. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that would be for those families. I couldn’t help but feel extremely fortunate as I looked around the computer lab we were in. Some of us had our headphones in–listening to music on our smart phones, and conversations about family and events from the weekend could be heard. And, we were all lucky enough to have a job that allowed us the opportunity to go and provide service to others. How fortunate we are!

Thank you to United Way of Salt Lake for this great volunteer opportunity!


There is no existing information for many of the indicators specific to our neighborhoods; places like Kearns, or Park City, or South Salt Lake, or West Valley.  There is no public source for data such as how long parents are able to read to their children per day, or how many hours of physical activity each family member is getting.  This means that United Way of Salt Lake, as a backbone organization to our partners, must take this on.  To do so, we are taking advantage of student registration and other back-to-school events to gather this data from families via an anonymous survey.  As you can imagine, we have been busy over the last few weeks and months collaborating with our Community Learning Center schools, ensuring high rates of return, gathering the filled out surveys, and entering the data.

Here is what Harland Clarke accomplished:

Harland Clarke Hser Ner Moo data entry session
8 people working on Granger Surveys
305 family surveys in 3 ½ hours

7 people working on Kearns Surveys
211 family surveys 3 ½ hours
516/15= 34 surveys per person

205/34= 6 minutes per survey for a given volunteer