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Midvale Journal

Valley Behavioral Health hosts back-to-school charity picnic in Midvale

Sep 08, 2023 11:44AM ● By Annabelle Larsen

Kids show off their face paint while in the petting zoo. (Courtesy of Valley Behavioral Health)

As summer winds down students prepare to return to school. For many, back-to-school shopping for supplies is exciting, but for others, it is an event that can cause a lot of financial stress.

Many schools send students home with a list of supplies to buy. Ranging from notebooks to pencils to folders, alone these items can be inexpensive, but combined it can add up for families, especially those with several school-aged children. 

With this yearly expense in mind, Valley Behavioral Health wanted to help offer a solution to these families. 

Valley Behavioral Health has been offering their community mental health services to the Salt Lake community since 1987. 

Valley Behavioral Health started when Salt Lake County noticed there was a lack of behavioral health services available for the community, despite strong evidence supporting its effectiveness. Originally owned by Salt Lake County, Valley has since become a private nonprofit and a leader in the greater Salt Lake valley and its surrounding areas.

Valley Behavioral Health’s website states, “Today, Valley is part of something greater than we could have ever imagined, and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon. We will continue to work with our partners, old and new, to offer the best possible care across a wide range of mental health, behavioral, and substance use disorders.”

Julie Winn, the vice president of Children, Youth, Family & IDD Services at Valley Behavioral Health and former licensed clinical social worker, knows that for many families in Utah, getting back to school without spending a small fortune is imperative for students to succeed in their classes. She stated that, “two out of three kids go to school without the proper supplies.” And that, “having the correct supplies can improve educational outcomes.”  

The charity picnic, hosted by Valley Behavioral Health, aims to help families that are low-income or no-income. They provide each student a backpack full of school supplies including pens, pencils, notebooks, folders and more. Each participant is also given a sack lunch. Lastly, Valley Behavioral Health also brings in a petting zoo and offers face painting for the kids to make this experience fun as well as helpful.

The event has taken place for five years. Several buses bring students in and many parents bringing their school-aged children as well. λ