Communities Dive into Road Home Swim Drive
Aug 01, 2016 09:35AM
By Bryan Scott
The Road Home Midvale Center, a homeless shelter for families with children, held a swim drive to collect swimming items for children between five and 18-years-old. –The Road Home
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Midvale, Utah - Summer is a time for swimming and public swimming requires the proper attire.
The Road Home Midvale Center, a homeless shelter for families with children, asked the community in June to donate bathing suits and towels so the shelter would be able to go swimming this summer.
“People were most generous, we got lots and lots of responses,” Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini said.
The shelter has taken kids on multiple activity field trips to go swimming as a result of all the donations received.
Seghini solicited the help of the surrounding communities as well, such as Cottonwood Heights and Murray, to provide all sizes for children between five and 18.
As of July 26, the shelter had 214 kids from newborns to 18-year-olds with at least 35 who attend the Boys and Girls Club. With the donated swimming gear, the kids were able to accompany the Boys and Girls Club to go swimming.
Celeste Eggert, Director of Development at The Road Home, estimated they had received close to 100 bathing suits.
“There’s nothing normal about being homeless and being a kid. Homeless kids are more susceptible to having mental issues, physical issues,” Eggert said. “So simple things like a bathing suit just make our kids feel normal and it gives them the opportunity to do normal activities like going swimming.”
Seghini said they received a lot of items from Midvale, Sandy and Murray. People also took items such as bathing suits, swim toys and sunscreen to the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office as well as the shelter itself. Seghini said she didn’t know where all of it came from exactly.
“The community at large was very considerate and gracious,” Seghini said.
The Midvale shelter, which opened its new facility on their existing site last November, has continuously seen great support from the public.
“The community has just been amazing to us with their donations, with volunteering their time. We are just so appreciative to the city of Midvale and all the people for the support they give us,” Eggert said.
Seghini said it was in keeping with her community experience. She said the community will respond if they know what you need, but you have to ask.
“If you ask them and you have a reason for making the request then those people that can make a difference, will make a difference,” Seghini said. “But if you never ask people for help than you never get anything done.”
Sometimes in government, Seghini said, we make the mistake that if we ask then people won’t respond.
“Whether its volunteer hours or goods and services…people always respond,” Seghini said.
Familiarity is key to community response. Eggert said she’s surprised to learn when people don’t know there’s a homeless shelter in the area.
“[Awareness] is the beginning to understanding the issue and creating a solution,” Eggert said.
The shelter and those inside are part of the community, Seghini said, and it’s important to remember that.
“They have a little bit of stability while they wait to get relocated into permanent housing,” Seghini said. “But they need to be more than just housed. They need to be appreciated and treated just like any other citizen in the community.”
Eggert said the simplest of donations matter the most.
“It makes [those we serve inside the shelter] realize people support them and remember them, especially these kids because it’s such a challenge,” Eggert said.
Seghini has worked with the school districts and state legislature to make sure the kids “are included” and not just “add-ons.”
“Living in a homeless shelter is not anybody’s cup of tea so any chance we can give to ground them and give them a sense of belonging to something we’ll do,” Seghini said.
Seghini said it will help them adapt and adjust as they transition to permanent housing becoming part of the larger community.
“We have an obligation to protect families, and I think they are protected when they are included,” Seghini said.
Eggert said if people are interested in donating during the summer months for both kids and adults, the center’s greatest needs right now are sunscreen, reusable water bottles, bug spray and fans.
To see a complete needs list for The Road Home, go to theroadhome.org.