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Volunteers help at three Midvale elementaries during United Way’s Day of Caring

Nov 01, 2017 05:38PM ● Published by Julie Slama

United Way volunteer Jinoy Jose gives East Midvale students high-fives during the Day of Caring. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Gallery: United Way [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

More than 3,000 volunteers from 90 local companies spent about 15,000 hours completing 100 projects—including some at three Midvale elementary schools—through United Way of Salt Lake’s 25th annual Day of Caring. 

On Sept. 14, some volunteers from CHG Healthcare got down on their knees, rolled up their sleeves and took out the paint brushes to paint Utah and United States maps as well as new hopscotch lines on Copperview Elementary’s playground. Other volunteers helped with reading and math groups in the classrooms.

CHG’s team member Jordan Jones said that people they may be helping are the same people they serve.

“We’re providing service to our clients in our community, helping them with a better way of life,” Jones said. 

James Brown, United Way’s senior corporate engagement adviser, said that they seek corporate partners to engage in the same community, trying to find companies who have special interest in the community they serve.

“United Way is working to advance the education, healthcare and income stability in our neighborhoods and communities to ensure that every child succeeds,” he said. “We want all students and families to have access to these.”

 On the playground, Doug Wayment, who works in CHG Healthcare’s IT department, said each month they try to do something to help in the community from working in the schools to homeless shelters to pet shelters to food banks.

“It’s nice to make a difference in the community and it’s awesome to work at a place that gives us the opportunity to do so,” he said.

Last October, Wayment traveled with a CHG humanitarian team to help build wood-burning stoves and create gardens in Peru.

This year, Eva Sifantonakis, who works in maternal and fetal medicine, will travel with a team to central Mexico to build houses. 

First, she looked forward to helping at Copperview Elementary.

“It makes a difference to the kids, and I like volunteering,” she said.

Copperview Assistant Principal Shawn Walker said their help makes an impact.

“We look forward to them coming because they’re ready to volunteer and make a difference in our community,” he said. 

That can-do attitude also describes the 40-member Intermountain Health Care-Health Compliance team at Midvale Elementary.

Volunteers went into each classroom to set up a rock-painting project while teachers read “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz.

“Our goal is to collect all the rocks the students paint to make a river of rocks in front of our school,” Midvale Elementary Community School Facilitator Heidi Sanger said.

Volunteer Janet Oertli, who along with Lacey May and Alice Nicole Sager, brought rocks and supplies into Elyse Vaughn’s second-grade class, said that it was fun to see students appreciate the project.

“They seem to like the story, but they like painting even more,” she said. “They’re painting up to their elbows.”

IHC volunteer Nicki Furcell had a similar experience with kindergartners.

“They painted each other’s faces, arms and desks and eventually, they got to their rocks,” she said, with a laugh. “In the process, they mixed all their paint colors together so the rocks all ended up with one shade. It’s fun to be around kids; mine are all grown.”

That feeling of helping kids, their school and their community is part of why CSS Corporation participates in United Way’s Day of Caring at East Midvale Elementary, Adolfo Bonillo said.

“It’s a good feeling when you leave a place better than you find it,” he said. “The kids have thanked us and we feel like part of their community.”

The 22-member CSS team donated and sorted clothing for the students, stuffed 500 personal hygiene kids and set up soccer goals and played soccer with the students. They plan to return to the school to help them celebrate their Living Traditions celebration in January.

CSS Director of Operations Jinoy Jose said he played four or five games of soccer with the students.

“The kids are pretty good players,” he said between giving students high-fives at lunch. “And they give the best smiles.”

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