This blog post was written by a guest blogger, and current Intern with Help Me Grow Utah and Welcome Baby.
United Way represents the opposite of selfish living. It is an organization built upon human kindness and service. I applied to be an intern with United Way, (and specifically Help Me Grow and Welcome Baby), because my sister and cousin had done it, and seemed to enjoy it. I honestly had no idea what I was getting involved in. It was one of those things that I had seen and heard about, but had never processed or come to understand. After getting accepted as an intern, I finally learned about the goals and vision of United Way. I have learned so much about the community and what resources are available to people just by simply asking! It has been such a pleasant surprise to know that I live in a world where people dedicate their life to helping others, including people like me.
As a result of my internship, I am now super aware of my surroundings. I look out for events and resources that could be useful for those around me. If I see someone in need, I feel confident that I could help them, or at the very least, direct them to people who can. While I have worked here I have thought to myself (in full panic) “What if I move away from Utah?!....how am I going to get connected to resources and have people visit me and my baby and give me tools necessary to be awesome?!”…..And then I learned that United Way is so much bigger than just Utah County. And Help Me Grow is in almost half the states in the nation!
There are organizations all over to help people everywhere. I am proud to say that I am a small part of this world where people are helping people, and I will forever be an advocate, believer and cheerleader for United Way!
Ladies and gentlemen, be sure to mark March 20th on your calendar as a day when you have an opportunity to DOUBLE your impact.
Want to donate $10 to United Way of Utah County? On March 20th it becomes $20! Want to donate $20? For this one day only, it will be like donating $40. And if you donate $100, you are basically donating $200! How wonderful is that?
(If you have no idea what Love Utah Give Utah is, check out the following video for an explanation)
Now let me answer two questions you may have.
1. Why donate to United Way of Utah County? We take a holistic approach to doing good in Utah County. That means that we take a look at the needs of the WHOLE community and allocate resources where they are needed the most. This requires working together with other local organizations and communities to help those in our community who are most vulnerable. Our resources help people you know and they may even be able to help you.
Through United Way of Utah County:
-More than 250 students annually receive basic necessities like food, glasses, hearing aids, or school supplies
-More than 2,200 children have been screened for developmental delays
-100+ doctors’ offices, banks, and nonprofit agencies distribute books to help kids love to read and learn
2. Why donate on March 20th instead of any other day of the year? Not only do we have a matching donor for this one day only, it is a day when people throughout Utah are donating to their favorite organizations! As we work together we reach farther, stretching our impact. Not only can we help those that United Way serves, but we also help those who are new to philanthropy learn the joy of donating to a good cause.
Donating online is easy, and a great way for you parents to teach your children about giving back to the community they live in. Just be sure to donate through our loveutgiveut.org page and NOT our regular donation page.
If March 20th is not a good day for you, you can schedule your donation ahead of time.
Thank you and we love you!
How it works: All donations made on loveutgiveut.com are made to the Razoo Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization which permits donors to advise a regranting of their donations to other IRS recognized qualifying 501(c)(3). The Razoo Foundation will regrant 94% of its contribution to the qualifying organization as advised by the donor, retaining 4.9% for Razoo Foundation fees and distributing 1.1% to The Community Foundation of Utah to cover a small portion of the event hosting costs.
As children are growing up and learning about the world around them, they need a variety of experiences in order to grow in the right ways. Research has actually shown that one of the key ways to strengthen your child’s social and emotional skills is by taking them to a community playgroup where they can interact with other children.
Welcome Baby currently has a playgroup in the South Franklin Community Center in Provo that is open to children under five and their parents on Fridays at 11 am.
For our Provo playgroup on Valentine ’s Day, we started out the day with free-play where we had the chance to play with blocks, cars, and other fun toys together. Then we moved on to making Valentine’s Day cards by tracing our hands. See how cute they turned out? This activity helped develop fine motor skills as the children have a chance to color.
When all hands were traced, it was time to read “The Kiss Box” for story time. All the children gathered on a rug as they were read to, enhancing their cognitive development.
Then it was time for everyone’s favorite part of the day: snack time! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we made mini heart-shaped pizzas and we ate oranges too.
One of the best parts to observe while attending playgroup is watching the moms and children interact with eachother. This is one of the most important parts of attending playgroup - providing a place where both parents and children can make social connections and build friendships. A few moms have started coming because another playgroup mom told her about it, and now she comes almost every week!
Check out how much fun we all had during playgroup and look below for a general schedule of what you can expect at playgroup each Friday. We hope others will join in all the fun and come to Provo Playgroup to LIVE UNITED as a community!
Typical Playgroup Schedule:
11:00-11:20 Play time
11:20-11:25 Clean up
11:25- 11:45 Story time/ singing/ finger plays
11:45-12:00 Arts/ crafts
12:00- 12:15 Snack time
12:15-12:30 Large motor/games Clean up
Written by: Melissa Bills, Welcome Baby Intern
Hancock, K., Lawrence, D., Mitrou, F., Zarb, D., Berthelsen, D., Nicholson, J. M., & Zubrick, S. R. (2012). The association between playgroup participation, learning competence and social-emotional wellbeing for children aged 4-5 years in Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood.
On Saturday we had an Open House at the South Franklin Community Center, to celebrate the opportunities we now have to learn about technology. The Community Leaders Program (CLP) of Provo offers help with all of our questions about computers, the internet, and technology at three different locations in Provo.
Fortunately for us, one of their locations is the South Franklin Community Center. The Community Leaders, Mac, Michelle, Steve, and Geoff have been working with South Franklin Community Center (SFCC) neighbors on Chromebooks (laptops) for several months now. If you didn't already know, Monday-Thursday from 5:00-6:30 YOU can go to the SFCC and use a computer and internet, AND have an expert there to help you if you have any questions.
Our very first guest, Peggy, had never been in the SFCC before but our best friend April invited her to come. Peggy used a Chromebook for the first time, and she even got to chat with Mayor John Curtis for awhile.
Michelle, Peggy, and Mayor Curtis
One of our best friends, April, hops on one of the SFCC's Chromebooks to check her email.
In addition to our new friend Peggy, around 70 other people joined us at the Open House. Some, like Peggy, had never visited us before, but many others are old friends. Everyone was able to learn more about our programs, sign-up for classes, use the computers, meet new people, and eat some yummy food.
I enjoyed talking to Alma and her family, because although I see her often, it is rare that we get the chance to sit down and have a conversation. I also loved to see our faithful supporters and community movers and shakers, Joan and Josy, who I can count on for anything. Lastly, the three musketeers Ernesto, Antonio, and Fernando expertly navigated the computer, but know they can always learn more from their friend Steve.
Alma's husband, Jose, said something that has stuck with me all weekend. We could relate to one another, because we had both moved to Utah from Arizona. We spoke of the differences between the two states, how one was clearly hotter than the other, how long we had lived there, and so forth. But he told me he loves Provo and plans to stay here because it is a great place to raise his family. I certainly agree with Jose and it is my work and my hope that the South Franklin Community Center contributes to his family's happiness and success.
In my mind, the equation is simple: happiness= community.
Community includes all we need, family, friends, neighbors, resources, opportunities, and more.
As promoters of a better community, you could say that myself, the South Franklin Community Center, United Way of Utah County, and the Community Leaders Program are working to make Provo the happiest place on earth.
Alma and her adorable son enjoy some delicious fruit before they explore what the CLP program has to offer.
Two of the SFCC's most dedicated supporters enjoy breakfast together. Thanks Joan and Josy for all you have done and will continue to do for the community.
Ernesto, Antonio, and Fernando enjoy hanging out with their mentor Steve, who taught them how to find new, fun (but educational) games online.
Just a couple weeks ago over 1,000 people including families and students gathered into the ballroom on BYU campus to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As the speakers touched on the legacy he left, the real focus was on how we can serve others as he did. And in his words, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
I hope on that day you set aside even a few minutes to do something nice for someone else and that you continue to find small ways each day to carry someone’s burden, lend a listening ear, or pass along a smile.
I love the feeling that exists during these large service projects. People are just generally happier after giving 3 hours of their time to make life easier and happier for someone in need. Projects during the day included assembling and making education packs, art projects for adults with special needs, visiting seniors, organizing and cleaning different facilities including the Scera Theater, Friends in Need, and Animal Medical Services, making quilts, and writing letters to soldiers. If you weren’t able to make it this year, make sure to come out next year on MLK Day!
Post writing by Abby Wilson, Community Engagement Specialist for United Way of Utah County.
We’ve all heard the saying: nothing is certain but death and taxes. Filing taxes is an inevitable and daunting task. With complex laws, hundreds of tax publications, confusing rules, and credits you’ve never heard of, filing your own taxes feels impossible. So we do what we’ve been told to do: take our taxes to that office down the street. We trust their credentials and they get the job done. But once the preparer completes the filing we need to pay the good man (or woman) for a job well done; a bill that can be 50% of our return! That was money we had hoped to invest in education. Or use to buy new shoes for the kids. Or help with the late utility bills. What is a low-income taxpaying citizen to do?
Don’t throw your hands up in defeat just yet. Did you know that there is someone else there to help? I’m not talking about the business with the Statue of Liberty twirling a sign out front, nor am I speaking of the company with flashy commercials. I’m talking about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. What makes VITA different? It’s free. No, not “free with purchase” or “free after a year of not being free”. F-R-E-E. I know, it sounds too good to be true.
Would you trust me more if I told you that not everyone qualifies? Households with an annual gross income of $52,000 or less in 2013 are potential candidates. This program is specifically for the low- to moderate- income taxpayers whose dollars need to stretch further. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation right in your community. Volunteers know about all the tax credits that taxpayers can qualify to receive, thus increasing your tax return. Volunteers go through rigorous training and extensive testing to make sure that they know how to prepare your tax return correctly. There is also a free self-filing program if you made up to $58,000 in 2013. All you need is internet access and the motivation to file on your own.
VITA strives to let you keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible by:
- Offering free tax preparation
- Finding qualifying tax credits for you
- Providing access to resources that will help you build wealth, get out of debt, and find financial stability
Call 2-1-1 (801-377-6600) to make an appointment at a site near you or visit www.myfreetaxes.com/utah. We have over 10 locations here in Utah County with varying hours.
See? You have people on your side that you didn’t even know about! We are here for you with your best interest at heart.
You can have your taxes filed for free and have peace of mind.
Don’t sweat it, you got this tax thing.
Isn't this funny?? I saw this video and immediately thought of my sister. When we were younger we had this fabric book that taught kids to learn the fine motor skills of buttoning up a jacket, tying shoes, putting on mittens. It was called "I can do it all by myself" or some such thing. My sister was quite the independent little girl (I'm no different) and I firmly believe that this book is to blame. But then again, I like that i'm independent.
So in thinking about what to blog about and how to get some humoristic morals in there somehow, I decided to use this video to teach us a few life lessons that can be applied in our community. I call them the 7 "Be's"
1. Be cute.
I mean really. how adorable is that little girl! (Lets not start thinking of how she'll be in 10 years as a teen..) but c'mon! Adorable. When you're cute, you get millions of views on YouTube. Doesn't everyone want that? Okay maybe not. You can figure out how being cute relates to the community. I can't figure out a good reason.
2. Be funny.
How funny is she!? She's probably funny because we relate and sense a bit of ourself in that video. But in the community, we have a lot of things that can get us down, but lets use humor to keep our heads clear. Which leads me to the next one....
3. Be clear.
This baby girl is so clear about what she's about. And that she doesn't need any help. Be clear in what you're feeling and what you expect from yourself and otherts. Its the first step to then deciding if what you're clear about is right or not. If we are "clear" about what we want in our community, I think we could solve our problems a LOT more quickly instead of letting it fester.
4. Be independent.
"Worry about yourself!" she repeatedly tells her dad. She knew she could take care of the situation, and pushes forward as with everything she's got. I need to be more like her. In our community we can all be a little more independent (Disclaimer...see next "Be"). We each have a lot of gifts to offer our community that come when we are secure in who we are!
5. Be willing.
Besides being careful about the safety situation here, this little girl needs to be careful how independent she becomes. Its important to learn how to do things on your own and know you're capable of them, but it is also really important to let others to help you when you need it. Learning to accept help is hard (can I get an AMEN!?) but an important part of building a strong community.
6. Be polite.
My favorite part in the video is when her dad says, "Do you want help?" "No..no thank you." Says the cute little munchkin. I mean really??? You're cute, funny, smart AND polite? We could all be a little more kind in our community and be generous with people and give them the benefit of the doubt.
SO. Now you've watched this cute/funny video and politely read through this blog post and generously chuckled at my attempts at humor and moralistic teaching. Take it worth a grain of salt but you SHOULD think about what you can do, today, to strengthen our community. So get out! Be cute, funny, clear, independent, willing and polite. It'll make this world a better place.
Last week, I attended the Partners for Infants and Children (PIC) Committee Meeting that is held monthly at Care About Childcare located at Utah Valley University. This committee “seek(s) to build collaborative networks among multiple partners to empower parents.” We gather together to discuss current events and the services that the different organizations provide for the community. Usually one of the participating organizations will present about the services they provide to the community, however, this last week we had the special opportunity to hear from an undercover FBI agent. This agent has dealt with some difficult situations, including seeing the faces of children who live in very traumatic circumstances. It was interesting to hear his perspective, and catch a very small glimpse of some of the trauma these kids experience. He expressed a deep gratitude for organizations like PIC for the efforts they are putting forth in order to help these children try to piece their lives back together, after everything around them has been shattered.
When I walked away from that meeting, I gained a new perspective on the kinds of things people go through. I also gained a greater appreciation for organizations that have caught the vision - it takes a whole community to strengthen families. There are protective factors that we implement here at United Way, that lay a foundation to strengthen families. When we work together as a community, we live united. Unfortunately, we cannot stop the bad things in the world all at once, but as we work together to build partnerships, one by one, we are preventing further damage. If you would like to become involved with our early childhood initiatives, please contact us.
- About Us
- Donate Now
- Workplace Giving
- Corporate Cornerstone
- Leadership Giving
- Planned Giving
- Loyal Contributor
- Women in Philanthropy
- United eWay
- Focus your Contribution
- Find Help
- March 2014 (1)
- February 2014 (4)
- January 2014 (5)
- December 2013 (7)
- November 2013 (4)
- October 2013 (9)
- September 2013 (7)
- August 2013 (7)
- July 2013 (7)
- May 2013 (2)
- April 2013 (3)
- March 2013 (5)
- February 2013 (4)
- January 2013 (3)
- December 2012 (2)
- November 2012 (4)
- October 2012 (6)
- September 2012 (4)
- August 2012 (6)
- July 2012 (5)
- June 2012 (11)
- May 2012 (6)
- April 2012 (7)
- March 2012 (7)
- February 2012 (4)
- January 2012 (2)
- December 2011 (1)
- November 2011 (3)
- October 2011 (3)
- September 2011 (3)
- 1 of 2
- next ›