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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Skyline High receives Salt Lake County Youth Service’s award

Aug 28, 2017 05:16PM ● By Jana Klopsch

During a teen forum on suicide prevention, Skyline High School’s Community of Caring program distributed stickers that say “stop suicide.” (Megan Brown/Skyline High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Helping others is the “thing” to do at Skyline High School, with about 150 students enrolled in the Community of Caring service-learning classes this fall.

“It’s a very active program that provides service to a number of groups in our community,” Principal Doug Bingham said. “It’s more than service; it’s also leadership as we have a student leadership board that is the planning board for the program.”

The Community of Caring program regularly holds blood drives for the American Red Cross Utah region, makes sandwiches and serves meals at St. Vincent de Paul dining hall, plans children’s activities for youth at the Road Home overflow shelter and assists at the Utah Food Bank, said Megan Brown, who advised the students last year.

“We usually have two blood drives each year, but last year we had so many students who wanted to participate they had to turn them away, so they added a third date,” Brown said.

That desire to help the community led a Red Cross representative to tell Skyline PTA President Angela Folsom about the Salt Lake County Youth Service’s Commission on Youth Award.

“She emailed me about the award and I filled it in for our students and didn’t think much more about it — until they notified me that our Community of Caring program will be receiving the award,” said Folsom, who assisted the group last year and will advise it this coming school year. “The kids really deserved it.”

The award honors a youth group in the community who has given service to youth in the following areas: prevention, guidance and advocacy.

At the ceremony, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams honored the Skyline students.

“They thought it was really cool to go downtown and meet Ben McAdams and talk with him. He spoke highly of them (during the ceremony),” she said.

The group received a clear plaque and certificate, which are displayed in their classroom.

This isn’t the only award the students have received. During the 2015–16 school year, they were recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by the Utah Food Bank.

Each year, Skyline students log hundreds of volunteer hours also helping plan activities and dances with senior living centers; holding monthly teen forums to address topics they’ve selected such as suicide, beauty redefined and humanitarian issues; tutoring weekly at elementary schools; helping with the Head Start program; walking dogs at the Utah Humane Society; and helping plan activities for Title I students at Camp Tracy.  

This year, the student leadership board also decided to hold a hunger banquet to raise funds for prevention of human trafficking with Backyard Broadcast, collect donations of personal hygiene items for the homeless and volunteer with local races for various charities.

Bingham said some students are recognized for the service scholar program, where they provide 150 hours of service during their sophomore, junior and senior years in high school.

“We recognize those who provide service outside of school and many include it on (college or career) applications or in their portfolio,” he said.

Bingham said the school’s Community of Caring is patterned after the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center program at the University of Utah.

“Community of Caring has been around Granite School District for at least 25 years,” he said.  

Even so, Brown said it is very much active at Skyline High.

“We hope that it instills a passion they will never forget,” she said. “We want them to continue wanting to look to do service projects. I have seen a change of heart and attitude in students as they realize the reward and impact service has on their own lives as well as their community.”