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The City Journals

Volunteers show they care about kids, communities during day of service

Oct 05, 2017 10:55AM ● By Travis Barton

Volunteers from the Deseret Management Corporation stopped by classrooms to speak with students at Lincoln Elementary as part of United Way of Utah’s 25th annual Day of Caring. (Courtesy Adam Dahlberg)

Milton Collins has worked in Arizona, Wisconsin and Illinois as an educator and administrator, but the new Lincoln Elementary principal, Milton Collins, said seeing the community reach out to help his school was exceptional. 

“All I can say is, it was special,” he said. 

Collins was speaking about the 25th annual Day of Caring on Sept. 14 where volunteers from the Deseret Management Corporation took time to perform service at the Title 1 school. More than 3,000 volunteers from 90 local companies do one-day projects through Davis, Salt Lake and Summit counties. 

At Lincoln Elementary, volunteers read to students, painted a mural for their library and gave the school a $5,000 check. That’s money Collins intends to send directly to the school library for more books. 

“We get kids going to the library to check out books and always asking for these books,” Collins said. “It’s sad when you say we don’t have it. I want that whole $5,000 spent on the library, let’s get some new books so when (students) come in, we have what they’re looking for and just get them more excited about reading.” 

He said he’s always worked in Title 1 schools, but never one that had community support like United Way gives to the population of students at Lincoln. The 3700 South school has a large refugee population and more than 20 different languages spoken by its students. 

“It was definitely an event that I’m going to always remember because of the number of volunteers that came in to show their support and help for the population of students that we have here,” Collins said. 

Of the 3,000 volunteers, more than half worked directly to support work in schools and communities, according to a United Way of Salt Lake press release, and the efforts of volunteers would save more than $640,000 in services to the communities. 

“United Way has always championed the efforts of the thousands of dedicated volunteers in companies who selflessly serve in our communities,” said CEO of United Way of Salt Lake Bill Crim in the press release. “Day of Caring is the culmination of United Way’s summer volunteer push, and is unique because it allows local companies and members of the community to give back and have a hands-on experience helping those who need it most.” 

South Salt Lake also saw nine homes throughout the city receive service through South Salt Lake’s Community Connection, which is a Program housed in the Urban Livability Department. Projects included laying a gravel driveway, pulling weeds, landscaping the front yard and removing debris. 

It also included major yard cleanup and the trimming of trees and overgrown shrubs. 

Service projects also took place in Salt Lake County including Kearns, Midvale and Salt Lake City. 

Kearns High saw volunteers from Williams, a gas pipeline company, paint around the bleachers on the football field, clean up softball dugouts and provide college and career presentations among other things. 

Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns had various companies appear with volunteers from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, Salt Lake Chamber, ViaWest, Wells Fargo Treasury Management and the University of Utah Medical Group and Office of the Senior Vice President. They did reading activities at the school along with cleaning and updating the school’s garden space. 

Copperview Elementary in Midvale welcomed volunteers from CHG Healthcare who helped paint US maps on the playground.