by Ann Spencer
Guest Blogger

The Skyline Women’s Soccer team visited, for the third year, the Hser Ner Moo Welcome Center.  These darling sisters stole the hearts of the team during the previous two year’s service project at the Hser Ner Moo Welcome Center on 500 South and 2200 East in Salt Lake and they did it again this year!  The welcome center serves immigrant and refugee families as they settle into their new lives in Utah.

Many of the parents are struggling to learn English and working to support their families.  The center was started in an empty unit to provide the resident children with a safe place to go after school.  The Utah Food Bank donates meals and paid staff and volunteers provide homework assistance and supervise fun activities.  In 2012 the center was expanded and now comfortably accommodates the children as they eat their after school snack, complete homework by hand or use the computers in the upstairs lab.

The soccer team members generously volunteered their time to read to the littlest children,  help the older children with homework and kick the soccer ball around on an adjacent field.  Until recently, the field was an abandoned lot.  Two years ago Community volunteers donated sod and sprinklers to turn it into a soccer field for the complex.

Everyone had a great time speaking the universal language of soccer.  The team members enjoyed their third annual visit on September 5, 2012 and look forward to having the children from the center attend a soccer home game at Skyline High School later this year.

Through collaborative partnership among United Way of Salt Lake, the City of SSL, Granite School District, and numerous other partners, the Hser Ner Moo Community and Welcome Center provides comprehensive supports for families and youth. This includes tutoring, ESL classes, computer training, meals, high quality infant/toddler classes, and enrichment activities. The Center serves as a resource for South Parc apartment residents (where the Center is located), as well as for the broader community. Volunteers, community partners, and intentional collaboration are what make the Hser Ner Moo Community and Welcome Center a vital resource for the South Salt Lake community.