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New Year, New Programs

The community center is excited to share new programs starting this 2015 year! As you might know the South Franklin Community Center provides access to educational programs that promote individual growth and encourage relationship building. Participation fosters community spirit and increases the quality of life in the neighborhood as networks are built and knowledge is shared.

People Helping People is a new program starting in February. It is an employment program which focuses on strengthening families through successful employment. People Helping People is “dedicated to reducing the number of children living in poverty by teaching low-income women, primarily single mothers, how to earn an adequate income through stable employment that pays a living wage.” By partnering with People Helping People we hope to increase the quality of life for many families.

Did you know that in Utah there are over 40,000 households living below poverty level? Knowing that almost half of that number are single moms, “People Helping People helps families break the cycle of poverty for their children.”

People Helping People is coming to the community center to help better the lives of those that take the workshops they provide. What a great opportunity to have this free program help so many people. If you would like more information on how to sign up for this program, please contact Kari Kane at Kari@phputah.org.

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Resolving to make a difference

Exercise more, eat less, save money—sound familiar? According to USA.gov, these are some of the most frequently made New Year’s resolutions. They are all great things, but for some reason I’ve found that when I make the same resolutions year after year, I get complacent. It’s harder for me to follow through. This year, I’m going to make a different kind of resolution—one that has benefits not just for me, but for my community. This year, I’m going to be an EveryDay Learner.

So what is an EveryDay Learner? An EveryDay Learner is someone who is committed to making education (and especially reading) a priority in everyday life. Sound hard? Don’t worry, it’s easy to do. Taking trips to the library with friends once a week, reading to your kids every day, tutoring students in a local elementary school, starting a book club in your neighborhood—there are a million ways to make reading a priority. It doesn’t take a huge shift in routine or a big life change to be an EveryDay Learner.

Even though it’s easy to be an EveryDay Learner, the impact that it will have on the lives of community members is huge. Right now, about 20% of Utah County third graders aren’t reading on grade level. That means that those students are four to six times less likely to graduate from high school. And if students don’t graduate from high school, it is harder for them to find employment, make a living wage, and prepare for their future lives. But students who do read at grade level by third grade are four to six times more likely to succeed in school and in the workforce. The good news is, we can improve the odds for our kids.

By making reading a priority in our community, we can give our kids the support they need to read. We can read with them. We can get them books to read. We can show them how important literacy is. Without literacy, our lives are restricted by all the things we can’t understand. But with literacy, we have the chance to learn anything we want to learn. Opportunities expand when we can read. We can give our kids those opportunities by helping them read proficiently by third grade.

This year, why not make a new resolution? Join the movement and commit to make education a priority in our community. Together, we can change our future. We can resolve to make a difference.

 

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VITA: The Tax Filing Super Hero!

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 $53,000 or less in 2014 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 online self-filing program if you made up to $60,000 in 2014. All you need is internet access and the motivation to file on your own.

Also at our sites, we have financial advocates who can help you with finding resources in the community focused on saving money and becoming more financially secure!

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

Visit utahtaxhelp.org! We have over 10 locations here in Utah County with varying hours. 2-1-1 will begin setting appointments January 12th!

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.

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A "Frozen" themed Aspire Group and Ready To Learn Class

Elsa visited us for our Aspire Parent Group and Ready To Learn Class this month!  This event was held at the South Franklin Community Center where over 30 families gathered to play with their young children. Some of the activities included: Storytime with Elsa, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" Build the castle of Arendelle with blocks, Pin the nose on Olaf, Snowball fight, creative cookies with playdough and more!  Families also had the opportunity to learn about some of the programs United Way of Utah County has to offer, and ttake a survey from EveryDay Learners http://bit.ly/1xtVQDv .   Look how much fun we had!!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Countdown Videos!

Christmas video
Provo is sponsoring a brand new music video each day these next several weeks before Christmas Day! The bands are talented, local music master writers included on the brand-new Christmas CD put together by Provo's Mayor John Curtis.

Proceeds will help support the Sub for Santa program here in Utah County to bring more Christmas presents to underpriveleged families this year! You can buy a new CD for $10 or $15 (for delivery) at provo.org/subforsanta. 

Last year 5,100 kids and 1,400 families were served in Sub for Santa.

Help support the Christmas season by purchasing this CD at with one of these participating businesses at Sodalicious, Los Hermanos, 311 (351 W. Center), United Way of Utah Co., 100 Block, Utah Valley Chamber, Unhinged, Foxglove, Velour, La Jolla Groves and Modifi Salon & Spa. 
 

Merry Christmas rockin' in your Winter wonderland!!

-- Your Team at United Way :)

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Welcome Baby Playgroup

Did you know that Utah has the highest birth rate in the nation, at almost 18 births per 1000 women of child bearing age, we take the cake by nearly 6 points above the national average. That's pretty impressive right? Well then, wait until you find out that Utah County boasts their birth rate of 23.2 births per 1000 women of child bearing age. Needless to say, we have a lot of children being born within our county. 

We at Welcome Baby have many programs that focus on these new children, all the way up to age 5. All of our programs are free to the county, and all of them are fun! Our hope is that by providing our different programs (such as home visits, parenting classes, newsletters, and playgroups) that we will be able to give parents the knowledge, education, and confidence to be their child's best teacher! We want every child to have the best start possible. 

One of the programs we offer is a playgroup that we hold every Friday at the South Franklin Community Center (check them out here) from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, and is intended for children ages 0-5. We always have storytime, playtime, snacks, and an activity or two to do! Each week is a different theme, and our wonderful playgroup leader Cindy, comes up with the best ideas!

Check out some of the fun we've been having at play group this year!

Painting wooden blocks!

Playgroup Garden

Planting our playgroup garden! We got to watch it grow all season, and take home the fruits of our labors.

Bird Feeders

Making bird feeders this spring, for the hungry birds that were returning. 

Coloring Blocks

Some of our older boys enjoying their creativity. 

Story Time

Reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

Songs and Rhymes

Doing some rhyming and singing, with actions for the kids to follow along with. 

Free Play

Free play time, we start each playgroup off with just letting the kids play with toys and each other. 

Apple Activity

The "apple of my eye" craft for apple week!

Nature Art

Enjoying nature this summer with a nature walk and creating a squirrels "nest" out of materials we found outside!

Feet Painting

Getting artsy with our feet!

Colored Bubbles

 

Learning about bubbles, and getting to make colorful bubble art. 

We hope that you'll be joining us for playgroup this week! 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at welcomebaby@unitedwayuc.org

 

Being Involved Has Its Benefits

The South Franklin Community Center (SFCC) provides access to educational programs that promote individual growth and encourage relationship building. The SFCC offers a variety of programs for all ages, it is through these programs that friendships are formed, memories are created, and skills are acquired. One of the focus areas of United Way of Utah County is education and as a program associated with United Way, we implement programs to help those in the surrounding area of the South Franklin Community Center; two of our programs focus on helping children and teenagers succeed in school.

Elementary school children enthusiastically come to SFCC Monday through Thursday for an hour and a half to get help with homework, read, and work on reading comprehension exercises. Many of these children have formed close bonds with the tutors often times telling them what their favorite hobbies are, how their family is doing, etc. Teenagers also come weekly Monday through Friday to get help on homework from staff from the Boys and Girls Club of Utah County and volunteers. Through the Teen Program, teenagers have the opportunity to be better prepared for the next day at school. In addition to receiving homework help, teenagers also go on fieldtrips and play sports.

SFCC Tutoring

SFCC Teen Program

Santos, a resident at the Boulders, is very involved at the community center and it has been wonderful to see her in the programs the community center provides. The community center had many different programs that Santos has been attending and benefiting from. She goes to Zumba in which she can exercise and have fun, attends the African dance and drumming class to learn of other cultures, participates in Google’s digital literacy class, and participates in the Quilting and Crafts class every Monday. Most recently, she helped create decorations for the community center’s Halloween party. We hope more people will be involved with the programs so they too can experience not only a community spirit, but grow individually.    

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Newest Community Directory Hot off the Press!

United Way of Utah County is excited to announce the release of the Utah County Community Resource Directory Fall 2014 Edition.  This is the first time Resource Directory has been printed in over 3 years. This directory is a collection of all the available services our community has to offer. Any individual, family, or organization in search for assistance for themselves or others will be able to use this directory to find the help they need. In a way, this resource guide represents our commitment as a community to help one another through the difficulties of life.  Composed of over 500 pages, this directory represents the most comprehensive collection of resources that has ever been assembled for the Utah County community.  
 
The compilation of this Resource Directory was a large undertaking. The research, documentation, and compilation of the resource guide required over 2500 hours of work by 10 staff members and 10 volunteers. However, the usefulness of the information contained in the directory is dependent upon its accuracy. As such we will continue to update this directory every 6 months, with new editions to be released in both the fall and spring seasons. This large undertaking by United Way of Utah County will ensure continuously accurate information for the residents of Utah County to get help when they need it. 
 
If you ever notice information that is inaccurate or has gone out of date, please contact us. Your help will allow us to better serve the needs of our community. 
 
We believe this resource guide to be especially useful to those individuals who work with disadvantaged, low income communities. Case workers, religious leaders, community leaders, and health practitioners will find that the Community Resource Directory is a valuable tool in helping refer individuals and families to agencies that will be able to fulfill their needs. 
 
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