$205 Thousand Awarded to Community Engagement Initiatives in Utah

UServeUtah, the state’s commission on service & volunteerism, has awarded $205,520 to local community engagement initiatives across the state. The purpose of the grant is to increase awareness of and/or participation in volunteerism. The grant funding comes from a combination of state and Volunteer Generation Fund dollars. Applications were open in March and after a thorough review process of each application and budget, grant awards were announced in May.

The following initiatives have been funded for the 2023-2024 project period:

Community Engagement Standard Grant

At Liberty Ranch: Bringing Smiles to Faces
Box Elder County

At Liberty Ranch seeks to be a resource to the adoption and foster care community. We provide the space, horses, and professional staff that allow participants to experience the equine-human bond, that gives them the freedom to heal from the inside out and explore new possibilities.

The Bringing Smiles to Faces initiative will increase Utahns’ awareness of community and civic engagement by providing a unique and meaningful opportunity for youth and families to volunteer and participate in equine-assisted services. The improvements to At Liberty Ranch’s facilities will not only create a safer and more comfortable environment for participants but also offer a new and engaging way for individuals to give back to their community. As word spreads about the new and improved services at the ranch, more people will become aware of the positive impact that At Liberty Ranch is making on the lives of foster youth, adopted kids, and their birth parents. This will encourage more people to participate in community and civic engagement, and potentially inspire them to seek out other opportunities to give back and make a difference in their community.

Equality Utah: College Ambassador Program Expanding Community Outreach
Higher Education Institutions Statewide

This initiative will provide for a paid internship at every major higher education campus across the state of Utah for students to learn, engage, and support their LGBTQ community, bringing awareness to Utahns’ on campus as well as on a state level. Ambassadors will have the chance to meet with state leaders like the lieutenant governor and legislators who make our laws. On campus, student ambassadors will inform their student peers on the importance of voting and how they personally can make a difference. Student ambassadors are also invited to attend and participate in Equality Utah events, furthering their knowledge and activity in creating a fair and just Utah. They will build relationships with future allies on campus and in the community by engaging with municipal leaders and university leaders.

Bears Ears Partnership: Community Engagement & Stewardship in Bears Ears National Monument
San Juan County

Through this initiative, Bears Ears Partnership (BEP) will partner with San Juan County School District and others to educate and engage school-aged students through volunteering. Together they will identify areas of greatest need and coordinate two stewardship focused volunteer clean up days (spring and fall) each year along with four additional stewardship projects each year. 

Through this project, a minimum of six volunteer stewardship events will take place each year engaging approximately 200 volunteers. This initiative will engage local residents, indigenous communities, youth, and partners throughout the Bears Ears landscape. Beneficiaries include all visitors to Bears Ears National Monument, San Juan County and tribal communities in the region, and most of all, the landscape through increased volunteerism and attention to stewardship of the region. The objectives of this project are to connect new communities to Bears Ears, particularly youth in the region. Spending time in Bears Ears, and helping the landscape, is one way youth can connect to their history, the lands and work toward a better future. This initiative will raise awareness of the importance of this incredible landscape while connecting youth to the lands and each other.

Moab Valley Multicultural Center: Day of the Dead Community Cultural Event, Education and Outreach
Grand County

Moab Valley Multicultural Center (MVMC) will host their 13th Annual Day of the Dead Festival on October 29, 2023. The Festival will offer free admission to approximately 1,000 people, and will feature family friendly activities, authentic Latin cuisine, a traditional live mariachi band, many types of folk art, and altars honoring deceased loved ones decorated by people from around the community. They will also provide community education and outreach for the entire month leading up to the Festival, reaching approximately 500 students. The Day of the Dead Festival, or Festival del Día de Muertos, is a deeply meaningful celebration of life that honors the spirits of loved ones who have passed away. Per some people’s cultural beliefs, it is when those spirits return to earth to visit the living. 

Initiative Purpose: Across programs, Moab Valley Multicultural Center strives to create cross-cultural experiences that foster greater understanding of and appreciation for diverse cultures, and demonstrate that all people should feel valued and supported by their community. Our mission is always to bring people together—to celebrate diversity and heritage through respectful, inclusive, and engaging programs that showcase culture as a shared experience. Grand County’s population is diverse and rural, with very limited financial opportunities, so this initiative also brings affordable family friendly activities to the Moab community.

Neighborhood House: Volunteer Engagement Program
Salt Lake County

Community volunteerism is the ultimate form of civic engagement. When community members give back to the community in which they live and volunteer their time to improve the lives of their neighbors, it demonstrates a genuine commitment to civic progress and community growth. On average, 63 million Americans volunteer annually, working together to battle societal issues including homelessness, food insecurity, health and welfare, and more. Neighborhood House owes much of its 129 year success to volunteers throughout Salt Lake County and the countless hours they’ve dedicated to helping the organization achieve its annual goals. Despite its success, the organization is working to create a long-term volunteer engagement program to ensure all volunteers have a baseline of training to ensure long-term success for both each volunteer, and the organization as a whole. Neighborhood House understands that their power comes from people, both inside and out of the walls of the organization. Motivated and passionate volunteers drive success and a well organized engagement program supports both paths. Neighborhood House participates in more than a dozen annual community events, and hosts an additional 30 on-site events, to connect with community members and potential volunteers. The new Volunteer Engagement Program will improve marketing, outreach, and communication at each of these events, which will increase awareness of volunteer opportunities on site. Additionally, with a new more organized program, focused on engagement and stewardship, the Volunteer Engagement Program will cultivate long-lasting relationships, making volunteers more likely to not only return, but to bring friends, neighbors, and family into the fold as they continue their volunteering. This program will increase annual volunteer participation from more than 1,000, to at least 1,500.

Project Read: Adult Literacy and Civics Education Classes
Utah County

Project Read changes lives through literacy and empowers individuals, strengthens families, builds communities, and creates new cycles of intergenerational literacy. This project will implement the Best Practices in Civics Education included in the Teaching Skills That Matter framework for Adult Education. Through this initiative, adults with low literacy skills in Salt Lake and Utah Counties will increase their participation in community and civic engagement. ​​The popular proverb, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,” certainly holds true for adult literacy. As Project Read provides literacy skills, they not only affect the life of the students in the program, but also their families and fellow community members. 

Seager Memorial Clinic: Homeless in O-Town, Challenging Our Understanding & Attitudes

The Seager Memorial Clinic’s mission is to provide free, easy-access, non-judgmental, charitable medical, dental, vision, and mental health care to the underserved. Last year, in an effort to build a sustainable base of individual donors who are committed to the Seager Memorial Clinic’s ongoing success and growth, the Board of Directors launched the “Legacy Donor” program to invite supporters to donate $1,000 per year for at least 5 years to the Seager Memorial Clinic. To date, the clinic has over 30 Legacy Donors and collectively they have given nearly $50,000. The Legacy Donors are the backbone of Seager Memorial clinic – truly allowing them to expand capacity and reach as a free clinic in Northern Utah. Last year the clinic hosted a group service project and breakfast for Legacy Donors and their families. On a Saturday morning they assembled 1,000 hygiene kits made specifically for the homeless during the winter months. Over 60 people attended and many of the Legacy Donors brought their children and grandchildren. It was a wonderful way to do meaningful service as families. This year, with the support of UServeUtah and Ogden Police Department Homeless Services Advocates, the clinic plans to not only put together 1,000 hygiene kits for the homeless, but also to help Legacy Donors and their families think differently about homelessness as not the problem, but a symptom of substance abuse, mental health, trauma, lack of affordable housing, etc. The clinic will invite an individual who was previously homeless and recently housed to share their story with the group along with a private Q&A. Many of the Legacy Donors are physicians, pharmacists, RNs, and philanthropists in the community. They care deeply about the clinic’s patient population and will listen and increase their awareness with family members in attendance. This educational component will require attendees to re-examine their current understanding and attitudes of what it means to be homeless in O-Town.

Seekhaven Family Crisis & Resource Center: Community Advisory Board
Southeastern Utah

Founded in 1990, Seekhaven is the primary provider of domestic violence and sexual assault victim services in southeastern Utah. Seekhaven’s service area includes Grand, San Juan, and Emery counties, or approximately one-fifth of Utah’s landmass. The organization’s advocates provide comprehensive, client-led services, including emergency shelter access, legal and medical advocacy, educational and vocational support, life skills coaching, referrals to free mental health counseling services, in-house support groups, and limited financial assistance. The creation of Seekhaven’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) will provide an opportunity for local residents to impact community safety while supporting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Objectives of the advisory board include:

  • Act as a resource for Seekhaven Leadership; 
  • Benefit from collaborative networking opportunities; 
  • Foster new professional skills such as civil discourse, strategic planning, and restorative-lens program development; 
  • Monitor nonprofit performance and growth via quarterly service reviews, policy updates, and program and facility expansions.

In recognition of DEI best practices and the intersectionality of one’s risk of victimization, the nonprofit will specifically advertise the availability of this volunteer position to Seekhaven service recipients and representatives of marginalized communities, specifically BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled individuals, and those experiencing substance use disorder. By strategically involving a diverse and inclusive group of local community members, Seekhaven will ensure that the work product created by this new board is representative of community needs and priorities. Seekhaven anticipates that the CAB will consist of 10 community members annually. Board members will meet quarterly to participate in the objectives outlined above.

Special Olympics Utah: Unified Champion School Educator Advocacy and Leadership Summit
Salt Lake County, Ogden, Cache, Canyons, Davis and Jordan school districts

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Special Olympics Utah (SOUT) will plan and implement a “Unified Champion School Educators Advocacy and Leadership Summit.” Comprised of educators who participate in the Unified Champion Schools program, the focus of the Summit will be the further development of the participant’s community advocacy and leadership skills to enhance their positions as agents of change for Utah’s intellectual disability community. As volunteers, these educators implement the Unified Champion School (USC) program in their classrooms as teachers, in the field as coaches, and during extracurricular activities as community leaders both in and out of the school setting. The Summit will create an empowering environment for more than 64 educators from across Utah to participate in activities designed to learn, discuss, and develop leadership and social justice through Special Olympics sports and activities. The skills learned at the Summit will empower these educators to return to their schools and communities as lifelong agents of change.

Summit Cooperative Weed Management Area: Outreach Program Enhancement
Summit County

The mission of the Summit CWMA is to facilitate collaboration, coordination, and education regarding the identification and control of noxious weeds, integrated weed management procedures and restoration of ecosystem function to resist invasion or reinvasion by noxious weed species.

People don’t see noxious weeds as a key to conservation; however, these plants alter ecosystems and threaten billions of acres annually. Impacts include loss of diversity, loss of wildlife/pollinator habitat, increased wildfire, erosion, and sedimentation. These impacts are substantial, but budgets for their management are limited. The Summit CWMA facilitates three community outreach programs in Summit County – the Garlic Mustard Games, Hounds Against Houndstongue, and The Noxious Weed Ambassador Program – to control noxious weed populations and empower community members to be good stewards of their natural lands. Garlic mustard is a noxious weed that outcompetes native vegetation and diminishes overall forest resiliency. The Garlic Mustard Games – a county-wide competition – was created to mobilize and incentivize residents to fight back. Participants form teams and pull garlic mustard at community events and individually. Participant incentives include opportunity drawings, per bag bounties, and a food truck party for the season’s top teams. In 2022, the Garlic Mustard Games drew over 150 volunteers (including repeats). Houndstongue is a noxious weed that spreads via clothes and fur. Hounds Against Houndstongue was formed through a partnership with local public open space owner, Snyderville Basin Special Rec District. The District’s annual dog poop clean-up at Run-A-Muk, a beloved off-leash dog area, draws 20-40 volunteers and poses an opportunity to inform dog-owning nature lovers that their shoes, clothing, and furry friends can spread weeds. The CWMA will offer 5 cents per houndstongue seed removed from clothing or fur. By removing seeds, participants prevent the spread of this species. The Ambassador Program celebrates community members that have taken it upon themselves to control noxious weeds on their favorite trail systems. The CWMA is partnering with open space landowners to establish noxious weed ambassador stations to provide supplies for volunteers.

The Refuge Utah: Light Up the Night Against Sexual Assault
Utah, Wasatch & Juab counties

Since 1984, The Refuge Utah (formerly known as The Center for Women and Children in Crisis) has provided a safe, caring, and therapeutic environment to assist in the recovery of survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, and stalking. Their goal is to facilitate healing and to advocate for victims with the intent to decrease the incidence of such violence in the community.

The Refuge Utah will host a community “Light Up the Night Against Sexual Assault” event to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault and rape in our community. This event will also provide community education about the issue and how community members can get involved in providing direct services through volunteering with The Refuge Utah and partnering agencies. “Light Up the Night” will be open to the public, there will be music, food trucks, and grounded hot air balloons lighting up the night. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the issue of sexual assault through signage, various booths, and speakers. Participants can commit to supporting survivors of sexual violence and engage in community volunteer work.

Utah Division of Juvenile Justice & Youth Services: Peer Mentor Model Program
Salt Lake County, with outreach focused on rural communities

The Mission of the Division of Juvenile Justice and Youth Services is to be a leader in the field of juvenile justice by changing young lives, supporting families and keeping communities safe.

The Division of Juvenile Justice and Youth Services (JJYS), in partnership with the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs (MCA), proposes starting a peer mentor model program for youth in long-term detention (90+ days). Youth may be in JJYS custody until age 25 and JJYS strives to help youth in its care to acquire skills and become models for youth on shorter stays in detention (DT). Creating an avenue for young people to provide service to others in the facility will foster a commitment to service, volunteerism, and civic engagement long term. This will not only have an impact on the youth enrolled in the mentoring program, but also provide an example for their peers. JJYS believes this will also help with overall behavior in DT facilities by creating a stronger sense of community. Particularly for system-involved youth, increased civic engagement leads to reduction in recidivism through the development of external supports, pro-social relationships, and positive self-identity (Bazemore & Maruna, 2009). JJYS will be building upon the leadership and civic engagement model that we have already piloted with MCA to further support the development of young people. Program features Qualifying youth will apply for the peer mentor position with one peer mentor position available in every DT facility across the state. Applicants will select the facilities where they are interested in mentoring. JJYS staff will work closely with the applicant’s school on their education plan, parents, and attorneys before any young people are awarded a mentor position. JJYS staff will ensure all parties agree with the choice of placement. JJYS will partner with the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs (MCA) to deliver an evidence-based peer mentor model to teach young people the skills to lead within the system and their community. This will be piloted at the Salt Lake Valley Youth Center (SLVYC) and then expanded to other areas throughout the state. Peer mentors will be trained in DBT.

William A. Burnard Warming Center: Homelessness in Cache Valley, Changing Attitudes and Changing Lives through Education and Volunteering
Cache county

The William A. Burnard Warming Center strengthens our community by providing safety, warmth, and care for unhoused individuals and families on the coldest nights of the year.

This project aims to:

  1. Improve attitudes and increase understanding around homelessness and the people impacted by it in the Cache County area; and 
  2. Increase long-term, skilled volunteerism at the WAB Warming Center. 

To improve attitudes and increase understanding, the educational component consists of developing an original series of radio segments on homelessness in Cache Valley, drawing on research by Utah State University students, the Transforming Communities Institute, and other local resources. The segments will air on Utah Public Radio (UPR) in the months leading up to the WAB Warming Center’s planned reopening in December 2023. To increase volunteerism, the WAB Warming Center will share warming center-specific information in the radio segments. As the center approaches reopening, they will also offer public tours of the warming center so that community members interested in volunteering can see the space, identify how they might like to participate, and ask questions. The center will also update online and printed materials about the ways and benefits of getting involved as a volunteer. To increase the skills and longevity of volunteers, they will continue this project’s educational mission through volunteer trainings and appreciation activities, delving into some of the complexities of homelessness, sharing stories of current volunteer experiences, and celebrating the impact of volunteerism.

Youth Garden Project: Local Food Advocacy and Community-Building via Volunteerism $5,120
Grand county

The Youth Garden Project cultivates healthy children, families, and community through educational programs and connecting people with food from seed to table.

Funding will support Youth Garden Project’s (YGP) Weed N Feed volunteer events and the new Community Supported Agriculture Workshare program. These two programs are integral to YGP’s overall mission, and will connect Moab residents via volunteerism to the Youth Garden, to their local food system, to their community, and to each other. YGP was founded on the mission of providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for youth to complete court-ordered community service hours. Though they have since greatly expanded their offerings, they have steadfastly continued that intention of offering meaningful service opportunities for over 26 years. Volunteers are foundational to the 1.5 acre sustainable farm’s success, and their contributions of time, effort, and care allow YGP to further their mission knowing that the needs of their physical space are being met. YGP’s volunteer program consists of three main branches: individuals, groups, and events. YGP’s flagship volunteer event, ‘Weed N Feed’, is hosted every other week throughout the growing season. At this event, participants weed in the garden for 1-1.5 hours, and then enjoy a free, farm-fresh meal together prepared by volunteer chefs. This season, for the first time ever, we are also launching a CSA workshare volunteer program. The aim for this program is to increase access to fresh, local food and provide an opportunity for community members to learn how to grow food themselves. Workshare members commit to 3.5 hours of volunteering a week during the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season, in exchange for a full weekly CSA share box (valued at $600). No gardening experience is necessary to participate in this program.

Community Engagement EZ Grant

Community Rebuilds: Retaining Wall Workshop
Grand county

Community Rebuilds’ mission is to build energy-efficient housing, provide education on sustainability, and improve the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program.

The Moab area has experienced significant flash flood based erosion over the past year. With millions of dollars of infrastructure damage left to be handled by local governments, many individual residents and local businesses affected by flooding and sand erosion are seeking longer term resources and infrastructure to better protect their dwellings. Through this initiative, Community Rebuilds will run a demo workshop teaching dry stacking retaining walls on problem spot areas on the Community Rebuilds campus that have been recently impacted by fall and winter flooding. This will serve as a volunteer educational opportunity free of cost for the local community to learn about dry stacking as a sustainable and cost effective way to help improve erosion conditions across the area and will in turn help engage community members with Community Rebuilds to learn about ways they can continue to learn and volunteer to support sustainable, affordable housing.

Davis Arts Council: Day of Training & Education for Davis Arts Council Volunteer Corps 2024
Davis county

The mission of the Davis Arts Council is to enrich and strengthen our community through the power of the arts.

The Davis Arts Council’s summer programming takes place at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton, UT. It includes Free Friday Movies, Free Sunday Concerts, and a ticketed summer concert series. The volunteer team has grown considerably over the past few years, enough to warrant hiring a part-time volunteer coordinator in 2023. Some volunteers are longtimers and have been serving for well over 25 years, while recent recruitment includes a “junior” program that reaches out to high schoolers, some of whom have turned into returning team members. What used to be an annual 2-hour orientation for only new volunteers was last year expanded into a day-long training for the entire 100-plus member volunteer corps. This initiative will continue this model with general improvements. It is required attendance and will include a segment on mission engagement so volunteers will be able to effectively communicate the organization’s mission and goals, as well as how to answer common questions and address concerns. A special speaker who will address best practices for assisting patrons with accessibility issues and help volunteers be comfortable in ensuring events are accessible to everyone, regardless of physical abilities, and finally, a segment on understanding the risks associated with prolonged exposure to heat, recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as how to prevent these conditions from occurring will be presented to all volunteers. Layton City will present their emergency management plan for the venue and surrounding area. The day’s training will include instruction inside the venue, a lunch, games that will bond the members and enhance learning, and breakout sessions for specific area training. All of the above training will be informative to new volunteers, while hopefully giving the regular team an enhanced and refreshing outlook on their very important roles in the organization.

Emery County Libraries: Proudly Growing Together, Becoming Water-Wise at Ferron Library
Emery county

The mission of the Emery County Libraries is to provide the resources and services for lifelong learning, the space and opportunities to gather and connect, and to foster a love of reading.

Members of the Ferron Community (as well as other Emery County residents) will be invited to learn about water-wise landscaping at the Ferron Library and join in re-landscaping the Ferron Library with water-wise plants, mulch, gravel, and stone using a landscape architect’s design. The initiative will mobilize members of the community to participate in a hands-on approach to remediating a community resource in need of new landscaping while providing information about water-wise plants as well as instructions on planting and maintenance. This initiative will build a sense of ownership within the community in revitalization of the Ferron Library as well as providing an opportunity for community members to connect with each other while learning about water-wise landscaping.

EyeCare4Kids: Vision Screenings for Underserved Families
Salt Lake county

EyeCare4Kids provides professional eye care to low-income, visually-impaired children and underserved families. 

The purpose of this initiative is to educate volunteers on the vision care needs of the underserved families in Utah and train them to provide direct services to these communities through vision screenings. Volunteers will learn about the increasing need for vision screenings and vision care among the underserved populations in Utah and the direct effects it has on education and poverty. Volunteers will have the opportunity to utilize the skills they gained in training to provide vision screenings at community events.

Friends of Utah County Children’s Justice Center
Utah county

The Children’s Justice Center (CJC) is a homelike facility which serves children and families who are experiencing the crisis and chaos that comes with the disclosure of significant physical or sexual abuse of a child. The Center is designed to help children feel safe and comfortable so that they may begin to deal with the difficult and often frightening issues that surround abuse. The focus and function of the CJC is to reduce the trauma of the child abuse investigation and help the child feel safe to reveal the truth. The Friends of The Utah County Children’s Justice Center is the fundraising arm for the Utah County CJC. Our charitable mission is to provide this child-friendly facility and furnishings, as well as to financially support programs and services of the Utah County Children’s Justice Center (i.e., therapy, CJC programs, training and public awareness, etc.) on behalf of child abuse victims.

The Utah County Children’s Justice Center offers three different volunteer programs with various volunteer needs and recruitment requirements. The programs differ enough that the volunteers can choose which program best fits their passions and interests. Being located by two universities, the CJC can typically recruit enough volunteers during the school year to meet volunteer needs. However, when the semester ends, The Center is often short on volunteers and needs to recruit, screen, and train new volunteers. The entire process can be time-consuming and deter resources away from retaining current volunteers and serving victims. The proposed initiative would seek to recruit long-term volunteers through online and in-person community outreach. If fully funded, the initiative would bolster social media recruitment content and the printing of new materials for recruitment events. The initiative would also involve a heavy focus on volunteer retention, utilizing funds to provide ongoing training, snacks/food, and engagement resources for current volunteers. Volunteers will have opportunities to improve their skills, meet other volunteers in their community, and feel supported and appreciated by the CJC. Another need for the volunteer program is a messaging system that would allow The Center to quickly and confidentially communicate pertinent and time-sensitive information regarding volunteer appointments. This more efficient communication method will help The Center fill volunteer slots quickly and ensure every volunteer gets the same information at the same time.

Little Lambs Foundation for Kids: 9th Annual Back to School Event
Cache county

Little Lambs Foundation for Kids will host a back-to-school supply drive and distribution event to help put children on the right path for learning. This drive will serve low-income families in Cache, Box Elder, and Weber counties. ​​This will be the 9th back-to-school event and each year the program grows as poverty levels have also risen. Little Lambs Foundation for Kids has seven board members who each have an integral role in making the event a success. The drive will have one project manager, and one project worker who is an AmeriCorps member in the VISTA program, and approximately 20-40 volunteers will be involved with packing school supplies, and 20 volunteers will help the night of the distribution to ensure the children receive their school supplies.

Northridge Elementary School: Northridge Mentors
Utah county

Northridge Elementary is committed to improving the lives of youth in the community by providing a supportive, safe, and nurturing environment for them to learn and grow. This mentoring program aims to pair struggling students with dedicated and caring volunteers to help them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. The mentors will meet with their assigned students weekly for 30-60 minutes, engaging in activities such as tutoring, games, art projects, and meaningful conversations. These interactions will take place on school property within school hours. While our mentors will always operate in public areas, there may be instances when they are not under the direct supervision of a school staff member. To ensure the safety and well-being of the children participating in the program, we will require all volunteer mentors to undergo a fingerprint-based background check through the school district. Many programs and schools within the district require volunteers to complete this background check. The cost of each background check is $35. This grant funding will help cover these costs.

Recycle Utah: Pick Up Park City Program
Summit county

Recycle Utah has been hosting trash pick-up opportunities with the community since becoming a non-profit. As a recycling center that also provides environmental education to the Summit County area, Recycle Utah is seen as a leader in environmental engagement projects. They regularly organize cleanup opportunities and allow groups to organize their own cleanups throughout the year. They have partnered with a local volunteer, David Nicholas, who organizes cleanups every weekend in the Park City community. This Spring, Recycle Utah has organized several trash pickups with community partners including Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, Park City High School Earth Club, Park City Municipal, Summit County, Park City Rotary Club, and other local businesses who want to involve their employees in local service projects. Recycle Utah also loans out supplies to any resident or group who wants to take the initiative in organizing their own trash pick-up. In 2022, Recycle Utah engaged 860 volunteers in pickup opportunities throughout the county. The service opportunity has been met with great success and impact, and Recycle Utah aims to continue this effort to involve Summit County residents in beautifying our natural environment. Grant funds will support staff hours, advertising, and supplies such as trash grabbers, safety vests, gloves, and trash bags. These supplies will help us to expand efforts even further and allow us to keep partnering and renting out supplies to the Summit County community.

Project Connection: Community Volunteer Trauma Informed Training
Salt Lake county

Project Connection is a not-for-profit mental health agency located in West Valley City, Utah. Its mission is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and families in the community. The organization believes that this can be achieved by providing access to quality mental health services that are evidence-based and trauma-informed. The team at Project Connection also holds the belief that individuals fare better when they have connections, integration, and support within the community. Consequently, alongside traditional mental health services, they offer clients opportunities to connect with others who share their mental health goals and engage with the community. The organization strives to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness through education, advocacy, and fostering connections. Project Connection addresses challenges related to the accessibility, affordability, and quality of mental health care for unfunded or underfunded individuals in Salt Lake County. They accomplish this by providing affordable, accessible, trauma-informed mental health care and organizing community programs that promote connection and personal growth beyond therapy.

Project Connection is in the process of building a framework to create a community of volunteers who can act as connection points for individuals looking to connect with common interests and activities as part of their therapeutic mental health plan. With this grant funding, they will host two trauma informed volunteer training sessions to better prepare volunteers for working with community members who have trauma. 

Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments: SEUALG Welcoming Week
Carbon county

Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments will be hosting Welcoming Week in September 2023. Welcoming Week is an annual event organized by Welcoming America, a non-profit organization that promotes inclusive communities and helps newcomers to thrive in their new homes. The event takes place every September and brings together people of all backgrounds to celebrate the contributions from all individuals in our community while promoting the importance of creating welcoming communities for all. During Welcoming Week, Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments will organize a range of events and activities to foster understanding, promote cultural exchange, and build stronger, more inclusive communities. These events will include a ribbon cutting of a mural that celebrates equity and diversity, support of community events, and more. These events are free and open to the public, making it easy for anyone to participate and connect with others from different backgrounds. Welcoming Week also provides a platform for advocating for policies that support immigrants and refugees, such as comprehensive immigration reform, access to healthcare and education, and other forms of support. By bringing together people from different backgrounds and promoting understanding and empathy, Welcoming Week helps to create a more inclusive and welcoming society where everyone can thrive. Welcoming Week event can help to build stronger, more inclusive communities and promote understanding and empathy among people from different backgrounds. It can also help to raise awareness of the importance of creating welcoming communities for all and advocate for policies that support welcoming and belonging for all residents. By participating in Welcoming Week, we can make a positive difference in our communities and contribute to a more just and equitable society for all.

Springville City: Springville General Plan Youth Engagement
Utah County

The Springville General Plan Youth Engagement will provide an opportunity for youth in Springville to be actively engaged in shaping the future of their community. By engaging the youth in activities that are hands-on and interactive using a planning charrette model outlined in the book, Dream, Play, Build: Hands on Community Engagement for Enduring Spaces and Places they will learn principles of sustainable land use and community and economic development. The goal of this initiative is twofold; to engage youth in the general plan update and more importantly to encourage them to be active, thoughtful and engaged citizens.

Stokes Nature Center: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Pollinator Biodiversity Monitoring
Cache County

Stokes Nature Center (SNC) is embarking on the first year of an annual Community Science Initiative which will use volunteers to monitor pollinator biodiversity at the Nibley Outdoor Classroom site. Volunteer Citizen Scientists will conduct bi-monthly surveys (May-Oct) on the property alongside SNC staff and experts from the USU Bee Lab, as well as curate the insects for research and storage. This first year is critical to engage volunteers who will become ambassadors for biodiversity and community service by being civically engaged in supporting a healthy ecosystem not just for pollinators but humans too. Data gathered this year will provide a baseline population to compare to in future years. This data will allow the community and policymakers to see firsthand how changes in the landscape are impacting pollinators, giving citizens the research needed to support wise decision-making regarding pollinator habitats. Additionally, population counts will be gathered on scarce Western Firefly populations during the month of June. Residents and visitors get excited to see Fireflies each summer through the Firefly Tours. However, there is no data to support protection measures for fireflies. As part of this effort, SNC is working to raise awareness for dark skies by encouraging residents to turn out exterior lights during firefly season. Both of these projects will depend on volunteers for success and allow the community to contribute the research needed to protect this invaluable natural resource on behalf of current and future generations. Lastly, volunteers will have opportunities to directly create and maintain pollinator habitat throughout Cache Valley including Jay’s Well Park in Providence. SNC has worked with Providence City to create an educational pollinator garden at Jay’s Well Park. Volunteers will help continue planting native plants, and construct bee boxes. This is a true community project connecting residents across Cache Valley to nature.

Survivor Wellness: Survivors at the Summit
Salt Lake County

Survivor Wellness provides the cancer survivor community with lifelong access to affordable, high-quality integrative health care services and support in a welcoming, home-like environment. For over twenty-five years, Survivors at the Summit has been the premier annual community event to honor and support the cancer community. The event is open to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis – patients, caregivers, loved ones, and community members – as well as support staff – clinicians, doctors, social workers – and others who have been touched by cancer and the general public. Survivors at the Summit celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, pays tribute to the courage and determination of those affected by a cancer diagnosis and honors the memory of lives lost to cancer. 

Participants and volunteers enjoy: 

  • Mountain Breakfast in the event tent 
  • The Summit Experience – including riding the Tram or Peruvian Lift, viewing Mineral Basin, hiking to the summit of Hidden Peaks, and viewing Tribute Flags 
  • Lunch in the event tent 
  • The Ceremony of Life 
  • Tribute Flags flying throughout the Snowbird Resort areas 

100% of event proceeds support Survivor Wellness’ Program that has provided tens of thousands of free visits for mental, physical, and social support to cancer patients, survivors and their care-givers.

Utah Chinese Association: Utah Asian Community Civic Engagement Program
Salt Lake County

Over the past few decades, Utah’s Asian population has grown rapidly, with a significant increase in numbers since the turn of the century. Despite this growth, however, the Asian community remains underrepresented in civic engagement activities. To address this issue, it is crucial to provide resources and information to the Asian community about the importance of civic engagement and the ways in which they can get involved. The Utah Asian civic engagement program aims to increase awareness and participation in community and civic engagement among Utahns, with a particular focus on volunteerism and active participation. By encouraging more individuals to become involved in their communities, we can build stronger, more cohesive neighborhoods and promote greater civic engagement throughout the state. The program will include a range of initiatives, such as workshops and training sessions on community organizing, advocacy, and volunteerism. These events will provide opportunities for Utahns to learn new skills, connect with like-minded individuals, and become more active participants in their communities. In addition to education and training, the program will also highlight existing opportunities for civic engagement, such as volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits and community organizations. By raising awareness of these opportunities, the program can help more individuals find ways to get involved and make a difference in their communities. Finally, the program will work to create a culture of civic engagement and volunteerism throughout Utah. By highlighting the importance of community involvement and showcasing the positive impact that volunteers can have, we can inspire more Utahns to get involved and help build stronger, more vibrant communities. Overall, the Utah Asian civic engagement program is an important step towards building a more engaged, connected, and active society in Utah. By promoting greater awareness and participation in community and civic engagement, we can create a brighter future for all Utahns.

Vineyard City: Impact Vineyard Community Fair
Utah County

Vineyard City hosted its first Impact Vineyard community fair in April of 2023 with the hopes of hosting the event annually. The purpose of the event is to match community members with opportunities to be involved in Vineyard City. Over ten different entities within Vineyard are looking for community members to become involved including Vineyard Children’s Library, Vineyard Community Garden, Vineyard City Council, Planning Commission, Bicycle Advisory Commission, ARCH Commission (Arts, Recreation, Culture, Heritage), Vineyard Business Alliance, Youth Council, Community Works, Emergency Management, Sustainability, Recreation volunteers, etc. The city will host the fair, which will consist of booths and activities, to give residents more information about a variety of entities that operate within the city and how to be involved. There are a number of ways for residents to contribute to the city and we want to share with them opportunities to directly talk to our staff in a fun setting and help direct them to opportunities they are passionate about.

Community Engagement Mini Grant

Best Friends Animal Society SLC: Volunteer Appreciation Event
Salt Lake County

This volunteer recognition and appreciation event will celebrate and formally recognize volunteers and potentially promote volunteer programs to others.

CAPSA: Thank You Volunteers
Cache County

This celebration will show the volunteers they are appreciated and that CAPSA is grateful for them. This will provide for greater retention and volunteer referrals.

City of Orem Foundation: 9/11 Day of Service
Utah County

The City of Orem will be partnering with the Orem Coordinating Councils of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Utah Valley Interfaith Association to organize several service projects throughout the City of Orem, including a food drive for Community Action Services and Food Bank, in honor of those that tragically lost their lives 22 years ago.

Friends of Arches & Canyonlands Parks: Friends Helping Arches National Park
Grand County

Friends of Arches & Canyonlands Parks will host a variety of opportunities for people to volunteer in the National Parks Southeast Utah Group. Service projects will be followed by a volunteer appreciation event.

Kids on the Move: National Volunteer Appreciation Month
Utah County

Kids on the Move will celebrate and thank the many volunteers (over 3,000) who support the organization each year by volunteering their time and talents to further the mission. 

Lemurios Church: Outreach for Homeless, 9/11 Day of Service
Salt Lake County

In September, the Lemurios Church will host a 9/11 Day of Service Project conducting outreach for those experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake County.

Lindon City Youth Council: 9/11 City Emergency Response Practice Drill, Food Drive & Youth “Life Hacks 101” Event
Utah County

The Lindon City Youth Council will help the Emergency Management Coordinator with a community Emergency Response Drill on 9/11, pickup and collect Food and Hygiene items for the local Food Bank during the drill, and also organize and execute an event that gathers all youth ages 15-18 to participate in a “Life Hacks 101” Fair. Youth can experience real-world life hacks, mini-classes, demos, and hands-on skills to help survive and thrive beyond high school. 

Millcreek Promise: Millcreek Interfaith Council Project
Salt Lake County

In partnership with the Interfaith Council in Millcreek, Millcreek Promise will host a 9/11 Day of Service initiative. This Interfaith group met for the first time in November 2022, and there was a large interest from faith leaders in Millcreek to participate in service projects together. The Promise Program plans to follow up with this group by organizing a large service project for the 2023 9/11 Day of Service. This group will meet in May or June of 2023 to discuss which service project they want to complete. An idea that will be proposed to the group is to clean Sunnyvale Park, which is a park in West Millcreek that houses New Roots Refugee gardens and futsal courts. We want to contact IRC to partner with this initiative to bring more diverse faith groups into the project. During the event, Mayor Silvestrini will speak about the 9/11 Day of Service and what it means for communities or groups like Millcreek Interfaith to come together in this way.

Mountain Mediation Center: Recognizing Our Volunteers
Summit County

Mountain Mediation Center will use grant funds to recognize volunteers who serve to help people prevent conflict, resolve disputes, and build community.

Ogden Nature Center: 9/11 Day of Service, Russian Olive Removal Day
Weber County

This event will help eradicate younger Russian Olive trees at the Ogden Nature Center. Russian Olive is an invasive tree that outcompetes many native trees on the property, limiting native habitat that the creatures on our property (birds, mammals, insects, etc.) need to survive. The Ogden Nature Center will host a group of volunteers to saw and clip the smaller trees, then staff members will spray the stumps of the trees that get cut, making space for more native species to grow. This grant will help the Ogden Nature Center get the tools needed to run a project like this on a recurring basis, without much additional cost.

People Helping People: 2024 Volunteer Appreciation Event
Salt Lake County

The People Helping People’s Volunteer Appreciation Event is an annual event in which volunteers, board members, individual donors, and PHP Client Success Stories are invited to attend for a catered lunch, networking, and an Awards Program. Stories of the volunteers’ impact will be shared, and a Client Success Story will share their experience working with PHP volunteers. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a guest who might be interested in volunteering with PHP. This event is one of their favorite annual events and serves as their way of demonstrating appreciation for their invaluable volunteers.

Provo Community Congregational United Church of Christ: Community Clean Up
Utah County

The Provo Community Congregational United Church of Christ will be hosting a church clean-up on September 9, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to noon in honor of September 11th. Community volunteers will be invited to help spruce up the church buildings and campus grounds for upcoming fall and holiday events. Volunteers will be provided breakfast, be educated on the church’s community focused mission and its plans to expand to be a community events and art center, and then will be assigned to a group, led by a church congregation member, to fulfill a specific task or tasks. Once all tasks are complete, volunteers will enjoy food and friendship during a barbecue, provided by church members.

Sandy Police Department: Volunteer Recognition Event
Salt Lake County

This volunteer recognition event ​​will celebrate volunteerism by recognizing and rewarding current Volunteers In Police Service and Neighborhood Watch Area Leaders volunteers. It will also promote volunteerism because the current and past volunteers will share with members of the community the event that they attended. It will increase volunteerism because many past volunteers may come to the event and realize they would like to be involved once again.

Seniors Out and Proud of Utah: Volunteer Program & Recognition
Salt Lake County

Grant funds will be used to enhance the existing volunteer recognition initiatives and create new projects and events that show our appreciation for volunteers. 

Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids: Toy Car Build Day
Salt Lake County

During this build day, Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids will challenge volunteers to see how many cars they can build in one day. This grant will support needed supplies for this day of service.

Uintah Basin Association of Governments: UB VITA Volunteer Recognition & Retention
Uintah County

By recognizing the volunteer efforts made in the community by the VITA volunteers, this initiative will bring awareness to volunteer help that is needed, promote volunteering for this service, promote National Volunteer Month, and celebrate the current volunteers for all of their hard work and efforts. By showcasing these volunteers, not only will the volunteers be more likely to return to service each year, but it will also build awareness for those who may be interested in getting involved. This opportunity will also allow our program to celebrate National Volunteer Month, which we have not been able to participate in in the past.

Umoja Generation: Volunteer Recognition Event
Salt Lake County

Umoja Generation will host a recognition event to thank volunteers for their support. Each volunteer will be recognized with a certificate of excellence for their efforts.