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The City Journals

One Student Makes a Difference

Jun 08, 2016 10:19AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Cassandra Goff   [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights - In 2009, Utah Clean Cities Coalition (UCCC) began the “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free” Public Awareness Campaign. A year later, the first annual Idle-Free Awareness Month began. Every year since, one month out of the year is dedicated as Idle-Free Awareness Month in many different cities across Utah including Park City, West Valley, Summit County, Holladay and Cottonwood Heights. 

Last September, 2015, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore and the Cottonwood Heights City Council issued a proclamation to support the idle-free awareness campaign in support of efforts to reduce vehicle pollution within the city.

During the week of March 15, 2016, the Cottonwood Heights City Council received a letter from a local fifth-grader attending Ridgecrest Elementary in Mrs. Halligan’s class. 

It read: “Hi, My name is Kaleb and im in 5th grade student council. Recently student council has been doing this thing that says turn your key be idle free. While, I was doing that a women in Anzack Park said that a bunch of people idle when they’re waiting to pick up their kids. I was thinking we could make a bunch of signs that say the logo and put them around the park so people will be reminded to be idle free. I hope you read this letter, thank you!!! ”

Councilmember Mike Shelton and City Manager John Park were incredibly impressed with the letter and quickly jumped into action about acquiring the appropriate signs. 

On April 18, Cullimore, Shelton, Park and additional city members and staff visited Ridgecrest Elementary to see Kaleb Broderick. Much to his surprise, the city officials wanted him to help install the first idle-free sign, at Antczak Park (adjacent to Ridgecrest Elementary). 

“Congratulations Kaleb, this is a great idea!” Cullimore said as he shook Kaleb’s hand. “What gave you this idea?”

“Well, I was in student council and we had a meeting about this whole thing and I thought it was a good idea because I always think about the earth, all the time,” Kaleb replied shyly.

Cullimore then addressed the remainder of the student council and Kaleb’s fifth-grade class. “What do the rest of you think about this idea? Is it a good idea?”

“Yeah!” they hollered in excited unison. 

“We like to have you involved with the city,” Cullimore concluded.  

Kaleb helped place the screw and attach the idle-free sign to a pole in the park while his classmates, student council, the mayor and the councilmembers watched. 

On April 22 at 11 a.m., Shelton spoke at Ridgecrest Elementary’s Earth Day assembly about the idle-free signs and Kaleb’s involvement. During the assembly, a video encompassing the story of Kaleb’s idle-free signs was shown. Kaleb was also presented with a framed copy of his letter. 

To watch this video, visit

The Cottonwood Heights City Council is pleased with the involvement from Kaleb and Ridgecrest Elementary within the city. “Kaleb proved that one person can make a difference.”