by Whitney Negrete
UWSL Marketing Intern
In June, United Way of Salt Lake kicked off 2013 Summer of Service with a gardening project at Granite Park Junior High. The Summer of Service program focuses on kids ages 5-18, and involves youth in volunteer opportunities throughout the community. The purpose of these volunteer projects it to get young members of our community involved in making a difference for kids and families. The first project involved cleaning up gardening boxes in the back of Granite Park Junior High, to prepare them for a community garden. Before the project, the boxes were overtaken with weeds and lacked good soil; it was a task that looked almost impossible to accomplish.
During the project, volunteers worked hard to accomplish the task at hand. There were two families who had volunteered at Summer of Service last year, and they decided to come back for a second year. When I asked the Lloyd family what made them want to volunteer, Catie responded, “Last year we really really liked it!” Tiffany, Catie’s mother, mentioned that she liked doing things for others and she felt this was the perfect opportunity to get her young daughter involved.
This year, two new families joined in on the Summer of Service fun! Leslie and Brianna Negrete said they enjoy doing service for others because it keeps them busy and it’s a great way to help people in their community out. Another new family was the Fritz family; when I asked Alexander what his favorite part of service was he said, “Helping the community!” It is exciting to see some new faces at Summer of Service.
As a UWSL intern, this was also my first time participating in Summer of Service! I thought it was awesome that families were so willing to help out, even if they weren’t from that particular area. It amazed me that in only a few hours, and with many helping hands, we were able to accomplish a task that seemed almost impossible at the beginning. I was so impressed with all the work the youth and families were able to do! They truly showed me what LIVING UNITED is all about.
At the end of the project it was great to see the kid’s faces light up when they saw the final result. All their hard work really paid off and the gardening boxes looked like they were brand new. United Way of Salt Lake is excited for the next Summer of Service event, which will take place on July 11 at Woodrow Wilson Elementary. Join us to help put together kits for the new teachers that will be starting in the fall. Click here for more information!