drew_martinezby Drew Martinez
Leadership Giving Director

In December, United Way of Salt Lake’s Leadership Circle and Young Leaders helped make this holiday season a little brighter for kids in our community by organizing a Winter Celebration at Central Park Community Center and Guadalupe School. This event has turned into an annual celebration where donors in our two networks organize cookie decorating, a relay race, an educational craft, a reading game, and pass out warm winter clothing items.

Check out what Christy Thayne, a Young Leader and Cossette Morton, from Leadership Circle, had to say about their experience.

Christy Thayne – “The Winter Celebration volunteer activity at Guadalupe School was a great experience. I helped run the “snow clothes relay,” where the children had to layer themselves in snow pants, snow coats, gloves, hat and goggles. I watched the kids laugh and work together as they piled on the outfits and ran down the hallway as fast as they could. It was a joyful site to be seen and be part of.  Because this is a reoccurring volunteer opportunity, I have been able to begin building relationships with some of the students and I look forward to the smiles on their faces when they see me each month.  This brings warmth to my heart and a smile across my face as well. Not only am I able to work with the students, but I also get to work alongside other Young Leaders, getting to know each other better.

Thank you United Way Young Leaders for allowing me the opportunity to be of service in the community.”


Cossette Morton – “I really enjoyed participating in the holiday activities at Central Park Community Center. Spending time reading with a 10-year-old boy, Juan, was a highlight for me. Juan comes to the center after school for help with homework, a hot meal, and some recreation in the PAL Boxing Center.

Central Park Community Center and South Salt Lake PAL Boxing Center celebrated a massive remodel with a ribbon cutting ceremony after homework time. South Salt Lake Mayor, Cherie Wood, Police Chief Chris Snyder, PAL Director Officer Jerry Silva, and the Parks & Recreation Director Aaron Wiet all attended, as well as other dignitaries and some of the local police force. After the ribbon cutting, the kids had a hot meal at the Kid’s Café, which is sponsored by the Utah Food Bank. I also met a few of the boys from our last event, Sabastian and his friend David!

Our activities were fun! It wouldn’t be a holiday party without a cookie decorating station. Lots of frosting and cookies were enjoyed by the kids at the center. We also had a science project where the kids chose three different chenille stems and created snowflakes, stars, and other original designs. These creations were placed in a Borax solution and put in the kitchen to sit overnight. The result is a crystal covered ornament for the kids to take home the next day. The activities were topped off with a competitive relay race that included a penguin walk, a cotton ball carry, and unwrapping candy with gloves on. After the relay race, all the kids received a gift that included some winter items provided by the community.

I am looking forward to our next event and hope to see Juan, Sebastian and David, as well as meeting more of the kids who come to Central Park Community Center after school.”

PALS Dec 17 078

Thank you to staff at Guadalupe School and Central Park Community Center for allowing us this opportunity to celebrate this holiday season with the kids. Finally, thank you to our volunteers from Leadership Circle and Young Leaders for organizing this amazing celebration! Your dedication and concern for kids in our community is inspiring! You all showed what it means to LIVE UNITED during this year’s Winter Celebrations!

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