Monday, May 19, 2014

Meet the South Franklin Community Center Team

This time last year I was in my home state Arizona trying to figure out my next move. I was having a bit of an identity crisis. I had graduated from the University of Rhode Island the year before, and then spent nearly six months in Oaxaca Mexico studying Spanish and volunteering thanks to a scholarship. After, I was sitting at home job searching and feeling a bit hopeless.
Thankfully, I found an opportunity to apply for a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with United Way of Utah County in Provo. When I arrived a couple of months later, I was eager to start working at the South Franklin Community Center (SFCC) where I would be helping promote the mission of the SFCC; to provide access to educational programs that promote individual growth and encourage relationship building. We believe this participation fosters community spirit and increases the quality of life in the neighborhood as networks are built and knowledge is shared.
There are parts of my identity that will always be consistent. Now, I have a new piece to my identity. I have been working with the South Franklin Community Center since last July and a new part of me has formed. United Way of Utah County works hard everyday to enhance people’s lives by supporting education, income, and health. I know that when I go back to graduate school in the fall to study Public Policy, I will carry my experience at United Way with me. 

Hello! My name is Jennifer and I am the new AmeriCorps VISTA working with United Way of Utah County at the South Franklin Community Center. 
I decided to get involved in the AmeriCorps VISTA program because I want to help others succeed and give back to the community. While living abroad in Brazil, I interacted with many individuals living in circumstances much different than my own. I was aware of the international focus on poverty, but knew less about the prevalence at the local level back in the United States. After living in Brazil, I decided that I wanted to get involved and focus on helping out near my home in Provo and to bring more awareness to others.  
I am very excited about working at the South Franklin Community Center (SFCC) and getting to know everyone in the community. I have heard that the SFCC continues to improve year after year since it was started back in 2006. We have our very own center with a variety of classes being offered to the community, which demonstrates popularity and improvement of SFCC. I am looking forward to contributing to the success of the SFCC and the community.

In my last blog post on I introduced myself as the new intern at United Way for the South Franklin Community Center (SFCC). I am now excited to announce that I will be a VISTA Summer Associate for the SFCC Summer Camp.
I initially got involved with United Way by being a soccer coach with the South Franklin Soccer League. I then found out about an opportunity to be more involved and began my internship with United Way in January and have enjoyed every bit of it. Working with SFCC these couple of months has been so great! I have learned many new skills, met great people, and come to love the community even more. I am so happy to be a part of the South Franklin team and be able to help the community grow and be able to see their true potential.
Now I have the privilege of seeing my kids around the community center and be remembered as their coach. Hearing, "Hey do you remember me? You were my coach! Remember we won the final it was awesome!" Comments like this just bring a big smile to my face.
As a Hispanic, I have always looked for opportunities where I can specifically serve mi gente and South Franklin was that opportunity I was looking for to make a greater impact. As a first generation Mexican American I have seen the struggles my parents have faced moving to the states. I want to help others with similar trials come out of their struggles and give them the hope and resources they need to succeed.
As I have worked with SFCC I have become aware of all the great resources United Way has for Utah County and the love they have for the community. I am excited to lead the South Franklin Summer Camp as a VISTA this summer! After that, I will continue to help lead the South Franklin Soccer League from August to October. 

Want to Know More? Check out these fun facts: 
Fun Facts About Kirsten:
1.      She is an identical twin.
2.      She loves to cook and watch Food Network.
3.      She played college tennis.

4.      Favorite book: a tie between Jane Erye and Pride & Prejudice.
5.      She has degrees in economics and political science.
6.      Her "baby" sister plays college basketball!
7.      Weight lifting is one of her favorite workouts.
8.      One of her best memories is when all of her family traveled to      
         Rhode Island to watch her and her twin graduate from college.
9.      She LOVES learning.  
10.   She takes her water bottle with her EVERYWHERE. 
10 Facts about Jennifer:
1. She served an LDS mission to Londrina Brazil.
2. She has 6 nieces and 4 nephews, with 2 more on the way.
3. She is a native of Florida.
4. Her goal is to run a marathon.
5. She enjoys watching the Food Network.
6. Her favorite sport is hockey.
7. Boston is her favorite city.
8. She prefers the Winter Olympics over the Summer Olympics.
9. She is a recent college graduate from BYU with a Sociology degree.

10. She loves hoodies! She can never have too many hoodies.  
Random facts about Dania:
1.     She loves Sponge Bob because he’s so happy and giving all the time
2.     She loves Mexican candy like BomVaso, Skwinkles Salsaghetti and      
         many more
3.     She is the oldest of five kids
4.     She loves to rollerblade
5.     She has a car name Robert, which she spoils
6.     She loves Spearmint ChapStick
7.     She listens to Spanish music most of the time, like Jesse y Joy
8.     Her favorite movie Nacho Libre
9.     She loves to go dance Latin music
10.  She is currently on a Coed Soccer intramural team

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Amanda, Our Fearless Zumba Leader

The South Franklin Community Center would not thrive without the initiative of our volunteers. One shining example is our volunteer certified Zumba instructor Amanda.

Amanda reached out to us, wanting to teach not just one, but two classes a week. From the first class, the ladies of Zumba have enjoyed Amanda’s upbeat classes and fun dances.

We asked Amanda to answer some questions so we can all get to know her better.

Can you share a bit about yourself?

“I am from La Grande Oregon, I am going to school at BYU I am a Humanities Major with an Emphasis in English and I am working on a Spanish Minor. My family is super supportive, growing up I was a ballerina among other things, and Mom always went to all of my recitals. Dad is very practically minded and does research and crop consulting for agriculture, both of my parents taught me how to work really hard, the most valuable thing I think that I have learned.
In my family there are 5 kids I am the second oldest… We are all great friends and really enjoy being around each other.  Other than hard work, understanding people is also something that is very important for me, being a humanities major has encouraged me to look at how others think, feel and create, and by striving to connect with something that is not maybe natural or inherent in yourself you can find so many more beautiful and positive things in the world.”  

How did you decide to become a Zumba Instructor?

“I have always loved dance and appreciated exercise, but I always found myself guilting myself into going running or something, I really did not enjoy it. In college my roommate talked me into going to a Zumba class with her on campus but I was convinced that I would never stick with a workout plan because it was just too painful to exercise!”

Amanda loved her first Zumba class, she says “I didn’t want to leave and it became one of the highlights of my day to have an hour to just dance as hard as I wanted to. It was a big class, sometimes upwards of 80 people and so the people in the back could not always see very well, so sometimes I would just make up or approximate what I thought the teacher was doing, and people would stand behind me to follow along because they could not see either, I didn’t know it was happening but when they told me that they enjoyed following me I was happy.”

Amanda’s Zumba instructor encouraged her to get certified to teach Zumba, and she did! But a few months later she “went home to prepare for a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Portugal.”  While waiting to leave to Portugal, Amanda taught in her hometown, where she learned how to adapt her classes to her audience, using the  moves she knew, what her class wanted to do, and what everyone could feel successful doing while having fun. Amanda says, “It was a lot of fun, but it was very touching to me to hear their stories that by the time I left 6 months later Zumba had helped them to reach their fitness goals and to be healthier.”

How long have you been teaching at the South Franklin Community Center and what is your favorite part about teaching there?

“When I came back to BYU my same Zumba teacher recognized me and encouraged me to get re-certified… I decided to look for a place I could teach or at least volunteer, because I knew I was just starting out again and did not feel super comfortable yet.”
“I started volunteering at the South Franklin Community Center in January and I love it! My favorite thing about teaching Zumba at the SFCC is the atmosphere of friendship, it is so easy to go and be excited to teach when everyone smiles and at least waves to me as they come in. I love that it is a place where we can have fun and feel comfortable and more confident. It has helped me immensely with my own confidence teaching as I got back into dancing after being away for a few years, and recently I was able to teach a much larger class without being nervous at all.”

What is currently your favorite song to dance to at Zumba?

“Currently my favorite song to dance to is called ‘No Wiri Wiri’ because it is so fast and fun, however my other one would have to be ‘Rosa’ or ‘the chicken one’ because this is one that the Zumba ladies seem to enjoy.  I see them singing along, they may be making fun of it, but I love it when they end up laughing. Exercise can and should be fun!”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Summer Day Camp

Summer Day Camp is Coming!

Everyone’s favorite time of the year is almost here. The South Franklin Summer Camp is a program designed to help students ages six to thirteen improve their reading and math scores while still having fun. When the kids go back to school in the fall, they will be ready to succeed in the classroom.

This program is available to all children from the community with a small fee of five dollars. This small charge covers crafts and field trip fees that are needed to provide them with these opportunities. This year Summer Camp will begin June 17th. The children are divided in two groups ages six to seven and eight to thirteen. It will run Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00- 11:30 a.m.

Here is a sample schedule:
9:00-10:00: Split up into two age groups. Do reading and math learning activities.
10:00-11:00: Outdoor activity (or indoor board games etc.).
11:00-11:30: Group activity or special guest speaker.

Want to sign up? Click the link below

Come and get your children involved and provide them a brighter future.