Live PC Give PC Newcomers
Ryan Summerlin November 13, 2012
Though Parkites may have been divided in last week’s elections, they will come together on Nov. 16 to support Live PC Give PC, Summit County’s annual day of giving. In its second year, the local campaign has added more than 20 new organizations; below are highlights of some of the newcomers.
Art Pianos for All
This organization places colorful, painted pianos around Summit County with a mission to "bring back the piano as a centerpiece of music, community, art and fun."
"We started Art Pianos for All because it seemed like a simple way to put a smile on people’s faces," said Mark Maziarz, founder of the organization, "Through this project, we’re saving old pianos and giving them new life as visual, auditory and performing art. It’s great to see these pianos being played every day, when they used to see only occasional use."
Several pianos have already been placed around town, and will be moved periodically. Summit County residents can play Renee Mox Hall’s "Jazz Birds" piano, moving to Silver Star Café soon; or look for Sonny Luca’s "Blue Note," to be placed at the South Summit Aquatic Center; Sally Neilson’s "Rocky Mountain Bliss" will stay on the Kimball Art Center’s lower patio; and a grand piano will soon be installed at the Transit Center.
Canines with a Cause and Park City Veterans
Canines with a Cause trains shelter dogs to "work as companion, therapy and service dogs for veterans in need," according to the organization’s website.
"[Many veterans] live in total isolation. If they have a meltdown or anxiety attack the dog is there for them," said Cathy King, Executive Director of Canines with a Cause, "dogs are calming, dogs make you feel good."
King points to a recent success story with a woman, Stephanie, diagnosed with PTSD, and her dog, Fly. Before Fly, Stephanie’s six-year-old son often took on the role of protector, asking people to back away from her during anxiety attacks. Now that the family has Fly, Stephanie’s son can be a kid again, knowing Fly will help protect his mom.
For Live PC Give PC, Canines with a Cause is partnering with Park City Veterans to raise money for awareness and support for Park City’s local veterans.
For more information, visit www.canineswithacause.com.
Hope Alliance partners with local organizations around the globe to help battle the effects of poverty. According to its website, Hope Alliance aims to "empower impoverished people with the skills and tools they need to create positive change in the lives of their families and in their villages."
"Poverty in the developing world is really dramatic," said John Hanrahan, Hope Alliance’s co-founder and chair of the board, "we can have a tremendous impact overseas; our resources go so much further."
Hope Alliance supports a range of projects, but one example is a midwife training program in rural Guatemala. Guatemala has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Many women who act as midwives in their rural towns have never had any formal training. Hope Alliance supports a program that trains women and provides birthing kits.
For more information, visit www.thehopealliance.org.
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
According to SLCA’s mission statement, the organization "exists to promote climbing opportunities, preserve local access and encourage stewardship of the environment."
"If you don’t have a local organization involved, access to crags [climbable rock outcroppings] can be taken away," said Julia Geiser, SLCA’s executive director. "Joining our alliance, or donating to the cause is your pass to climb," said Geiser comparing membership to buying a ski pass. donating to the organization, climbers can help ensure access and maintenance of their favorite climbing destinations.
Recently, the organization hosted the "Adopt a Crag" event to raise money to help maintain and preserve Roof Lake, one of the most popular climbing destinations in the area, according to Geiser. The organization is also beginning to educate the local community about climbing, particularly on the safe transition from climbing gyms to outdoor climbing.
For more information, visit www.saltlakeclimbers.org.
The Speedy Foundation
The foundation is named after Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, an Olympic freestyle aerials medalist who took his own life in 2011. The Speedy foundation is "dedicated to understanding mental illness, preventing suicide and fighting stigma through education, research, and advocacy."
"As an organization, we are looking to use our unique platform and access to world-class athletes and global media to do what we can to help break the stigma of mental illness and provide education and direction towards professional resources," said Mike Ruzek, Executive Director.
The organization is currently working with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help educate the public about the signs of mental illness or substance abuse. The organization takes a special interest in reaching coaches and members of the athletic community.
For more information, visit www.thespeedyfoundation.org.
Utah 1033 Foundation
This Park City-based foundation (Park City’s Chief of Police, Wade Carpenter, serves on the board) helps support the families of Utah’s fallen police officers. "Police officers everywhere take on great risks as part of the job," said Ryan Walsh, Utah 1033 Foundation’s executive director, "[we have a] deep appreciation for the commitment and service that these individuals provide to ensure a level of increased safety and security in our communities."
Within 24 hours of hearing about the death of a Utah policeman, the foundation will be at the family’s door with a check for $25,000. Though police officers do have death benefits, Walsh said they can be as little as a temporary extension of the health insurance the family received before the officer’s death. According to Walsh, receiving benefits after the death of an officer is often "mired in red tape," and it can take months for a family to receive anything.
Utah 1033 has helped the families of two fallen officers this year: the family of Officer Jared Francom, who was killed in a shootout after a "knock and announce" at a suspected drug dealer’s home; and the family of Trooper Aaron Beesley, who fell during a search and rescue mission on Mount Olympus. The foundation also hopes to eventually raise enough money to provide scholarships to the children of any Utah police officer.
For more information, visit www.utah1033.org.
Utah Legal Services
Utah Legal Services’ mission it to provide "free legal help in non-criminal cases to low-income Utahns."
"We work to make sure there is a level playing field in court for low-income people, and we help individuals at the most basic level, issues involving their shelter, safety food and income," said Eric Mittelstadt, Utah Legal Services’ deputy director.
One example of Utah Legal Services’ work is a case, involving "JC," mother of three and victim of severe domestic violence by the father of her youngest child. The organization worked with the mother, eventually getting a permanent order of custody. Resolving this legal issue helped bring stability to JC’s family, says Mittelstadt.
A few key stats about Utah Legal Services: The organization assisted 14,137 people living below 125% of the federal poverty line; 6,902 people affected by domestic violence and 3,275 people facing homelessness or living in unsafe housing.
The organization also runs two monthly clinics in Summit County offering free advice for low-income people.
For more information, visit www.utahlegalservices.org.
Youthlinc is a Salt Lake City-based organization that encourages students to volunteer locally and abroad with the mission to "create lifetime humanitarians."
Julia Rametta, Youthlinc’s local service director, says that the organization seeks to instill the spirit of community service in our youth. Youthlinc works with students in a range of grade levels: from sophomore year of high school, through graduate school. Students work to earn sponsorships to volunteer abroad by volunteering in the local community for a year prior.
This year, eight students from Park City High School are participating in the program. By the end of the year, these students will have a combined 600 hours of community service to Summit County organizations. Once they earn sponsorship, the each student will travel to Peru, Thailand, or Vietnam for two weeks. While abroad, the students will work on projects they have developed in teams over the course of the year. Projects might be health education, vocational training, or construction of schools or water treatment facilities.
For more information, visit www.youthlinc.org.