The County Library Celebrates Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros with Kids’ Fiesta

By Anna Zanarini, Early Learning Librarian, Salt Lake County Library

Bilingual storytimes, live music, cultural dancing, bounce houses, crafts and piñatas are just a few of the fun and free activities offered at the County Library’s Kids’ Fiesta on April 29.

Held annually in honor of Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros, a national celebration of kids and books, Kids’ Fiesta is an opportunity for families and children of all ages to gather at one of the best places for kids and books: The County Library.


Featured entertainment includes musical performances by the Chavez Academy and cultural dancing by Latinos in Action. There will also be Zumba Kids and dancing with Owlexander—the County Library’s mascot.

County Library team members will be on-hand to share information about downloadable resources and no fine student library cards. In addition, other community organizations will be at the Fiesta providing hands-on science experiences, crafts for the kids and other fun activities.

Did we mention there will be piñatas? It isn’t a fiesta without a piñata! We will have four large piñatas for the kids to break and we will be hosting a piñata craft so everyone can make a small piñata to take home.

DATE: Saturday, April 29, 2017
TIME: 11 am-2 pm
PLACE: Library’s Viridian Event Center, 8030 S 1825 W, West Jordan

For more information, please visit or call 801-943-4636

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Library Fans Unite!

Authored by: Kelsy Thompson, Public Relations Coordinator, Salt Lake County Library

Are you a library fan? Has the library changed your life in some meaningful way? We want to hear about it!

Salt Lake County Library fans are showing their love for the library and the community during Library Month, April 1-30. Library fans are invited to stop by their local County Library, take a photo and share it on social media, using the hashtag #SLCoLibraryFan, to let others know how the County Library has transformed their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We can’t wait to see how the library has changed your life for the better.


In addition to sharing their transformations on social media, library fans are invited to transform their communities by donating non-perishable food items to receive a fine waiver of up to $5 per library card (on existing fines only). All donations will go to the Utah Food Bank. Donation barrels are available at all Salt Lake County Libraries* through April 30. This is a great way to pay it forward and celebrate your County library!

Library Month is an extension of National Library Week—a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association. It is a time to celebrate the library and to promote library use and support.

*Smith Library is closed for maintenance.

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Suicide: Is there a way to help?

Authored by: Jillian Hill, Prevention Supervisor

With 609 recorded suicides in 2015, Utah has the 5th highest suicide rate in the nation. In 2015, 16% of surveyed youth living in Salt Lake County had seriously considered suicide, 13% made a plan, and 8% attempted to end their life. Additionally, LGBTQ+ individuals report significantly higher rates of depression and suicide attempts than the general population. Youth of all identities can experience increased barriers to receiving support for depression.


Many youth are not comfortable reaching out to adults (parents, school personnel, etc.) when they are struggling. Sometimes their concerns are dismissed or they receive an overreaction. Instead, youth will turn to their friends to help them through a crisis.

What to do if you are worried about someone you know attempting suicide:


1. Ask them directly, “Are you thinking of taking your life?” If it’s in your mind that they might hurt themselves, they’ve probably thought of it too. You are not giving them a suggestion or increasing the chance they will act by talking about suicide directly.
2. Get help together. Never puicromise to keep someone’s thoughts of suicide a secret. You cannot keep someone alive all by yourself. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or download the SAFE UT app and text someone. If they have already done something to hurt themselves, call 911 immediately.

Posted in Bully, Communication Tips, Mental Health, Treatment | Leave a comment

Queer Prom: Offering a Safe Space to Bust a Move

Authored by: by Ricky Vigil; Afterschool Program Coordinator, Cyprus High School

Think back on your teenage years. Do you remember feeling misunderstood? Did you ever feel like you didn’t belong? Did social settings felt uncomfortable for you? Did you have anyone to share your feelings? Many of us look back at high school as a highlight of our early lives—others would rather not talk about it. Lots of people are somewhere in the middle, but imagine you had to deal with the daily struggles of teenage life, from the miniscule to the world-shattering, and also being LGBTQ+.

The Utah Pride Center has many great programs for young people, including support groups for younger and older teens, as well as activity nights and the Queer Youth Activist Council. Each April, they also hold the Queer Prom. This is an event where LGBTQ+ can experience the fun of a high school dance in a safe space free of judgement. Like any good high school dance, Queer Prom has a theme: Carnival! The occasion features all the high school dance standards, including a DJ, food and drinks, but also goes out of its way to make LGBTQ+ more comfortable by offering all gender restrooms, as well as on-site changing facilities. The event organizers also offer help in connecting youth to resources in their community, and host drag performances.


This year, the dance will take place on Saturday, April 22nd from 8 PM-12 AM at the Salt Lake City Main Library. Youth ages 14-20 are invited to attend. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the doors, but a limited amount of scholarships are available by contacting

For more information and to buy tickets, visit

Posted in LGBTQ, Library, Safe Place, SLCO | Leave a comment

He will walk 500 miles, and 500 more…

Authored by: Gina Barker,  Development & Marketing Director at The Christmas Box International

David Tucker likes to think big, like hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail for charity big.

This month, Tucker embarks on a 2,650 mile journey from the border of Mexico, across the Sierra Mountain range, to his end-point in British Columbia, Canada. But this mental and physical feat of endurance will be more than a personal challenge. It will also serve as an opportunity to raise awareness and money for the Utah-based charity, The Christmas Box International (CBI). In those 2,650 miles, he hopes to raise $10,000 to help Utah children who are victims of abuse and neglect.


“I promise to take you to some amazing places,” Tucker writes in his blog chronicling the hike, “let you share in my ups and downs, and allow you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped some truly needy and deserving kids. All of the money raised will go directly to CBI as I will be completely funding my trip. So that’s it. Simple, right? I mean other than hiking 20+ miles every day for six months.”

Tucker works at, and the outdoor online retailer gave $2,500 to kick off his six-month-long trek. The employees at are getting involved at The Salt Lake Christmas Box House, already taking several teens from Salt Lake County Youth Services for a rock climbing day in March. Recruiting peers, finding donated services, and working closely with Salt Lake County staff, Tucker orchestrated a fun day to spend time with teens staying in shelter care. Many of these kids have never rock climbed before, and Tucker and his group of outdoor enthusiasts were there to walk them through the process, building up their confidence to get them to tackle 60 or more feet of vertical walls.


Giving back seemed like a no-brainer to Tucker, and combining his love of the outdoors felt like a perfect fit to do so. From Hawaiian hilltops to the peaks of Macchu Picchu, he has been gearing up for this hike for years. In the past few months, Tucker stepped up his training regiment to include icy trails and longer, overnight hauls with his pack. Still, the reason for the hike remains a powerful motivator to get him to the finish line. Tucker admits to having a “rough childhood,” owing his successes as an adult to others.

“As a result of their love and kindness, I feel an obligation to give back to society, to improve the lives of others as much as others have improved mine.” David Tucker

Tucker departs this month, and CBI and DYS are wishing him luck and safe travels as he embarks on the journey of a lifetime. To catch up on David Tucker’s adventure, go to

Posted in Charity, Donors and Nonprofits, SLCO | Leave a comment

Preventing Child Abuse

Authored by: Chris Bereshnyi, Family Therapist at Salt Lake County Youth Services

As April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I would like to talk about some factors that strengthen families, and thus reduce the risks of child abuse. Of course, spending time together as a family is a protective factor.  However, closeness is established early during early development. This is known as Nurturing and Attachment, where it is important for babies to receive consistent affection and nurturing.  This helps the baby grow up to be a healthy and happy teen.

Another protective factor is Parental Resilience. Parental Resilience is a parent’s ability to cope with stress and crises. We are all unique, and everyone handles stress differently. However, issues such as substance abuse, marital problems and mental illness can negatively impact a parent’s ability to raise their child. Stress is a part of everyday life and can’t be avoided, but there is help out there for parents.

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A third protective factor is Social Connections, which is a network of friends and family that a parent can rely on to help out in a crisis, or with day to day needs. Social Connections can help strengthen Parental Resilience, as there may be times when a parent can’t do everything on their own.

A fourth protective factor is Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development. When a person becomes a parent, they typically fall back on what they learned from their parents or family members. However, being aware of developmental milestones can help a parent put a child’s behavior into context. This understanding can lead to more effective parenting, thus reducing physical punishment.

I mentioned that there are resources out there for families, such as the ones offered at Salt Lake County Youth Services. There are other resources as well, such as the Utah Parent Center (801-272-1051), Help Me Grow (801-691-5322), Family Promise (801-961-8622) and the Utah Department of Health’s Home Visiting program (801-273-2884).


Posted in Family Counseling, Mental Health, therapist | Leave a comment

Celebrating National Volunteers Month

Authored by: Gina Percival, Volunteer Coordinator at Salt Lake County Youth Services.

“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” 

Albert Einstein

April is a special month. Not just because of Spring Break or Easter, but because we get to recognize the people that have been serving others without anything in return. Those who instead of complaining have taken the lead to make a change. Those who are really spreading the love with facts, rather than words.


All this month, we are celebrating our volunteers. Fortunately in our state, we have many. Actually, Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA)  ranked Utah as the No. 1 volunteering state in the nation, showing that:

  • 45.3% of residents volunteer
  • We have 937,770 volunteers
  • 154.9 million hours of service
  • $3.5 billion of service contributed

At Salt Lake County, we have always been engaging volunteers as there are many opportunities for anyone and everyone to help build better communities.  The results couldn’t be better. Our 17,634 volunteers are not only doing a great job, but they have been a life-saver:

  • They have served us for over 718,437 hours
  • Their service value is estimated at $16,832,463.
  • The value of volunteer service  results in an estimated annual savings of approximately $30,000 in Utah State taxes and Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
  • The hours of volunteer service is equal to 341 full time employees.
  • The hourly value is based on the Salt Lake County hourly average of $23.76 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor).

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We are very proud of volunteers and we should recognize their work all year long. That’s why here is some good ideas to show your appreciation on a daily basis:

  • Give them the Bigger Picture- show them the importance and impact of their service.
  • Provide Food for your volunteers when they work- shows that you care.
  • Check in with your volunteers- to make sure they are feeling motivated and engaged.
  • Feature volunteer stories on publications and media.
  • Give your volunteers awards/thank you gifts.
  • Send your volunteers a simple and hand-written Thank You/Birthday card.


Fortunately, volunteering is more than service. It has been proven that it leads to better health, better relationships and better opportunities for finding a job. At Salt Lake County Youth Services we are always looking for those that are willing to take action. We are serving over 9,000 people every year and are trying to support children/families in need around the County. Help us to serve better. If you want to join our cause, contact Gina Percival at or call at 385-468-4506. Get involved now!

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

Elizabeth Andrew







Posted in Donors and Nonprofits, Family Activities, Volunteers and Boards, Youth Groups | Leave a comment