by Nancy Christensen

Guest Blogger, AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer

Maliheh Free Clinic

The Clinic enjoyed a variety of community interactions during our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Caring activities. The Clinic was represented at the National Charity League Philanthropy Fair on January 9, 2012 where we interacted with other nonprofit organizations and mother and daughter members looking for volunteer opportunities. It was delightful to see how many young women were following in their mothers’ footsteps through volunteering and service to their community. We distributed Clinic brochures and displayed a Martin Luther King, Jr. poster obtained from the Corporation for National and Community Service. We also distributed book marks and stickers asking:  “What Are You Doing For Others?”

On Wednesday, January 11, the Volunteer Coordinator, Resource Development Coordinator and one of our volunteer nurses participated in a volunteer recruitment event at Salt Lake Community College, in collaboration with the Thayne Service Learning Center. This represented a great opportunity to promote the spirit of volunteerism and to represent Dr. King’s vision about the importance of service. “What Are You Doing For Others?” posters, bookmarks and stickers were also distributed at this event.

The Clinic hosted an open house on Friday, January 13, 2012 for prospective volunteers contacted during the week’s activities. The open house included an informal tour of the Clinic, information sharing and light refreshments. It was a great way to spotlight the Clinic’s volunteer program, and introduce prospective volunteers to the concept of service as well as the Clinic’s mission. Approximately 10 volunteers participated in this event.

The Clinic was also honored to be selected as a service site for the Bennion Center’s Saturday Service Project on Saturday, January 14, 2012. Over 40 volunteers assisted with organizational tasks at the Clinic following our presence at the kick off event at the University of Utah Union. Several volunteers have signed up for ongoing service as a result of this activity. This event was particularly significant as it highlighted the legacy of Dr. King as part of the week-long Day of Caring activities.

Learning for Life (LFL) is a life skills and character development organization.  LFL is a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America.  LFL focuses on respect, honesty, service, perseverance, friendship, health and fitness and many more.  LFL discusses these topics in grades K-12 on a weekly or bi-monthly basis with activities to reinforce the lesson.  LFL is currently working with two high schools and 1 junior high school in a lunch time program (Let’s Understand Necessary Character Habits).  These students discuss these important topics with LFL mentors and complete a short activity to remind them of the lesson topic.  LFL prepares and discusses these topics with approximately 500 students.  This past month, our focus has been on service to coincide with the Martin Luther King day of service.  LFL mentors and approximately 500 student volunteers completed 40 fleece blankets for the Young Parent Program in Granite School District.   These blankets will be given to the teen mothers at graduation from High School.  Thank you to United Way of Salt Lake for helping LFL and their students complete this wonderful project.