Affordable Family Fun for the Holiday Season

Authored by: By Charity Williams, Community Outreach Coordinator for Magna United

As a single mom, I struggled with finding affordable activities for our family to participate in much like every family. My biggest problem was, I have two kids with special needs. Some days they were able handle the large crowds and loud noises, others not so much. I needed activities that my kids would enjoy, were inexpensive & hopefully learned something new. CHEAP was my priority. I couldn’t have enough money to pay entrance fees for four people, only to have a child have a melt down and need to leave 30 minutes after arriving. You see, our outings were also teaching experiences (I thought I was teaching the kids social skills, when I was being taught patience… which I am still working on).


Below are a few activities that are very inexpensive or even free for families to enjoy over the holidays:

November 19th through December 24th, 2016:

Elf Displays and Scavenger Hunt at Gardner Village
This is a free event and open to the public

November 25th through December 24th:

Downtown Jingle Bus!
This is a free event and open to the public
Downtown holiday season visitors can hop-on and off the holiday themed ride circulating between The Gateway, Temple Square, City Creek Center, Gallivan Plaza & Capitol Theatre.

November 25th through January 1st:

Christmas Lights on Temple Square
This is a free event and open to the public

December 2nd – December 4th:

2016 Utah Winter Faire  at the Legacy Events Center
Single Ticket
Online – $7
At the Door – $12
Good for general admission to any one day of the Faire.
Weekend Ticket
Online – $15*
At the Door – $18
Good for general admission to all three days of the Faire
*Online weekend ticket purchases will also include a $5 Winter Faire coin good for shopping at any of the vendors at the Faire.  While supplies last.

Group Ticket
Online – $29
At the Door – $35
Good for general admission for up to 6 people for any day of the Faire

December 3rd:  Between 11:00 am -7:00 pm:

You can now book your SLC Help Portrait appointment by visiting this link or by calling 801.284.4473

December 8th- December 10th: Between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m:

Dickens Festival at South Towne Exposition Center
$7 Adults
$6 Seniors (65+)
$5 Children (4-12)

December 9th -23th (Monday-Saturday, evenings):

Candlelight Christmas at The Place Heritage Park
Reduced admission price for this event is $5 per person
Free/children (2 and under)

December 10th: Between 02:00 pm – 04:00 pm:

Family Art Saturday: Wire at Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
This is a free event and open to the public

December 12th at 7:00 PM:

32nd Annual Christmas Carole Sing-Along at Vivint Smart Home Arena
This is a free event and open to the public
If you want some more activities over the Wasatch Front please visit:

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A global Day of Giving

Authored by: Gina Percival, Public Relations and Volunteer Coordinator at Salt Lake County Youth Services

The Holidays can get a little bit crazy. We all want to show appreciation to the people we love and it looks like everybody is trying to find the perfect gift, at the perfect price. That is why it is not uncommon to see people desperate to get their presents during Black Friday (that apparently has moved to Thursday evening) and CyberMonday. The opportunity couldn’t be better. Every store seems to have unbeatable deals.

However, Tuesday comes and it looks like the perfect time to give back. Fueled by social media and collaboration, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season inviting us to join the movement and provide something to someone else. Last year, over 700, 000 people participated on this crusade that got to raise 116,000,000 in 70 countries around the world. Anybody can make help to make a change. It doesn’t have to be anything major, especially when money seems to be running out. It can be giving some of your time, a donation, a gift, a simple but truthful gesture to any stranger. Anything counts.


Now, if you are wondering on how to contribute to the children and teens served by Salt Lake County Youth Services, here are some ideas: img_1954

1. Support the Angel Tree Giving Campaign: The Angel Giving Trees will be available inside the Salt Lake County Government Center North building atrium the community will be able to pick up an ornament that represents a special and needed gift for the children and the teenagers served by Salt Lake County Youth Services.

2. Donate to a charity: ShelterKids is a local non-profit organization that has been providing items to abused, neglected and at-risk teens served by Salt Lake County Youth Services.

3. Support Sub for Santa Campaign: Adopt a family in need and provide Christmas presents to its members.

4. Volunteer: We are calling for volunteers that want to help during the Holidays and all year long.

The only thing we need is your will. Your will to take this opportunity and give back. Your will to share your time and your smile. Your will to change the world, maybe by just sticking around these children and youth in need. Because believe or not, it’s that simple!

Posted in After School Program, Donors and Nonprofits, Family Activities, Volunteers and Boards | 1 Comment

A Thanksgiving to remember

Authored by: Sophia Koplin, Skyline High School

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all you have and gather together to realize the amazing things we all have to be thankful for.


This past Saturday, November 19th, 2016, a group of strangers gathered together to share a thanksgiving feast at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. A group of 59 Skyline High School students from Key Club, National Honors Society, Student Body Officers and the Drama Department donated their time and effort to provide an unforgettable Thanksgiving Dinner with the Staff and Participants at Salt Lake County Milestone Transitional Living Program. The room was filled with employees, volunteers, and family members. As people gathered around the table to eat, they shared what they were grateful for.


The gratitude felt in the room was overwhelming as people from all walks of life gathered together to provide a Thanksgiving to Remember. I feel so blessed to have been apart of this amazing event and to have seen the generosity and service oriented individuals. I am grateful for the opportunity each of us has to serve our community. I am grateful to organizations such as Salt Lake County Youth Services, Christmas Box  International and The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church who gave us the opportunity to serve and grow as individuals.


Posted in Homeless Youth, Volunteers and Boards | Leave a comment

Pink drug(U-47700) and what to do about it

Authored by: Khanh Tong, Prevention Case Manager

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the “Pink” drug (also known as U-47700). Many fear that this is the “new drug” on the street and it could get to our youth. Due in part to the two young boys from Park City who died from using the drugs, it is very close to us, and it is real. Some facts about U-47700 are:pink.jpg

• It is seven times stronger than heroin
• You can legally order it online with a credit card in Utah
• DEA are in the process to make it illegal
• Killed about 50 people so far


In the wake of these events, we need to remember that new drugs are popping up all the time. Each time, one drug is getting deadlier than the last: Spice, Ecstasy, Bath Salt, Methylone, Krokodil, etc.


The important question is: how are we going to respond to drugs?

Parents are STILL the number one reason teens don’t use drugs and alcohol, and it’s important for family to:

• Have dinner together
• Spend time together
• Parents talk to kids about values, goals, and dreams
• Parents set clear rules and expectations about drugs/alcohol

At Salt Lake County Youth Services, we provide prevention classes. If parents need tips or courses to learn more about how to help prevent and stop drug abuse. We also provide outpatient treatment and counseling for youth who use drugs, and case management in the form of wrap around service for families and individuals who want to get better. These services are free of charge for teens and their families.  Families/Parents can contact Salt Lake County Youth Service at 385-468-4500 or visit our website at to find out more about the available classes and set up an appointment.

Posted in Family Activities, Parenting Tips, Substance Abuse, therapist, Treatment | Leave a comment

Suicide: Speak out, Reach out

Authored By: Gina Percival, Public Relations and Volunteer Coordinator

Everybody has been touched by suicide. It could have been either because somebody you knew attempted/committed suicide or just because you saw it reported on the news. It doesn’t matter how it happened, it is right there, touching always on the door.

Suicide is one of the major areas of concern in Utah as it is the third leading cause of death for ages 10-14, and the second leading cause of death for ages 15-44. Moreover, it has been increasing to the point that today is the 8th leading cause of death in the state, even over car accidents. Moreover, Utah has the 7th highest suicide rate in the U.S. for people aged 10 years and older. What is disturbing is that since 2007, the numbers have not only been increasing, but have tripled.

Unfortunately, there is no way of identifying one and only cause for suicide. The reasons are varied and must be assessed on a case by case basis. Usually, mental illness, elevation sickness, firearms, drug and alcohol abuse, culture, cyberbullying and harassment, sexual abuse or neglect have been recognized as the main ones, but Salt Lake County Youth Services therapists also report that feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, or social isolation should be discussed.


Suicide is always on the scope and you never know when you might have to confront it. Therefore, it is important that you know how to identify and what to do to help someone with suicidal thoughts.

Be aware if you spot any of this signs/motivations that could lead to an attempt:

• The person wants to escape from an intolerable situation
• The person is reaching out for help
• The person wants to get attention
• The person wants to get revenge
• The person believes others will be better off without him/her
• The person wants to become a martyr
• The person has been romanticizing death

Overall, you must be ready to react, so keep this in mind:

• Trust your instincts that the person may be in trouble – talk about your concerns
• Be willing to listen – Allow expression of feelings – Accept feelings
• Be non-judgmental – Do not debate whether suicide is right or wrong or feelings are good or bad – Do not lecture on the value of life
• Get involved – Be available – Show interest and support
• Do not leave the person alone
• Do not agree to secrecy
• Do not dare the person to do it
• Offer hope that alternatives are available
• Take action – Remove firearms or stockpiled pills
• Get professional help, even if the person resists
• Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 18002738255
• Call 911 or take the person to local emergency room or UNI

Suicide is not just a threat, but a reality. A single act of love and kindness might not only help someone in need, but at this point, it might also save their lives.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Based on Most Recent 2014 Data from CDC

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 1999-2014 data [cited 2016 July].

Posted in Bully, Child Abuse, Family Counseling, Mental Health, Mental Health, Parenting Tips, Safe Place, Substance Abuse, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Celebrate World Kindness Day!

Authored by: Corylyn Ybarra, Manager of Shelter-Programs at Salt Lake County Youth Services

Did you know there is a day set aside to celebrate kindness? I am not sure what to think about this. Do we need a day to remind us to be kind to one another? Apparently, the answer is YES!

World Kindness Day is an international observance day and is celebrated on the 13th day of November. It encourages and reminds us all to practice good deeds, good thoughts and acts of kindness. World Kindness Day was born when a collection of humanitarian groups came together on November 13, 1997 and made a “Declaration of Kindness”.  The thought behind this declaration is that we each need to practice kindness in all that we do. On world Kindness Day, everyone is encouraged to make a similar declaration. When we show kindness through a smile, by a helping hand, through encouraging words or any selfless act of giving, we create a more caring world.

Kindness can be contagious; show kindness, receive kindness and “pay it forward”. Helping others can restore a sense of humanity, not to mention giving you that warm fuzzy glow inside.


Showing others acts of kindness to others has also been linked to decreased depression. Acts of kindness make us and others feel good. The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay if forward”. This means one good deed in a crowned area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!

However, pledging to commit just one act of kindness in no less worthwhile; hold the door open for a stranger, compliment your neighbor on their collection of garden gnomes, let your partner have control of the TV remote for the evening.

Other ways we can show kindness is by donating books, hygiene items, or clothes to our local community programs. Did you know Youth Services has two non-profit organizations that help us show kindness to our client’s? Both Shelterkids and Christmas Box International support our at-risk youth. If you are interested in researching more about our non-profit partners; please visit our website at

However, you decide to celebrate remember that the best thing about Kindness Day is that it doesn’t cost a thing! it’s about the little gestures of kindness too. Helping others can restore a sense of humanity,

Posted in History, SLCO | Leave a comment

Veteran’s Day with your kids

Authored By: Loren Georgeson & Karlia Lopez, Elk Run Elementary Afterschool Program

Veterans Day is celebrated annually on November 11th. For some, this may mean having an extra day off work, but there is more to this day than just time off to lounge around. Originally known as Armistice Day in behalf of World Peace after World War I, the day was changed to Veterans Day years later in honor of all warriors. We can use this day to help our children learn about the history of our country or to find ways to honor all those that have served in the country.

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Here are some ideas of how to help your child celebrate the reason behind Veterans Day:

• Write a letter to a veteran or current military member.
• Say thank you to a veteran in your community.
• Check out a book about a war from your local library and read it with your child.
• Support your school in their Veterans Day celebration.
• Go to any local events honoring veterans.

Magna has just recently decided to adopt the annual Veterans Day parade from Taylorsville. This year, the parade was held on Friday, November 11th at 11:00 am. This event was open to all branches of service. This parade was created thanks to the United Veterans Council of Salt Lake City & County with the Magna Township. Families and people of all ages were encouraged to come and support those who have fought for our country. The parade began at the LDS church on 3100 S 8400 W and traveled through Magna Main Street and the surrounding neighborhoods.  For more information please see

Posted in After School Program, Family Activities, History, SLCO | Leave a comment