Back to School: Setting Realistic Goals

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

Some kids I’ve talked to at Back-to-School nights and Class Registration are genuinely excited to get back to their classrooms. When I asked the kids what they were looking forward to, a lot of them said spending time with their friends. Some were happy to take classes from their favorite teachers or to try out new subjects–our school’s new Japanese classes have a lot of hot buzz. While pitching our After school Program to parents, many of them were drawn to the homework help and tutoring portions of our curriculum. Grades are important, but sometimes parents (and the students themselves) put unrealistic expectations on their kids. A student who mostly got D’s last school year is probably not going to get straight A’s during the first quarter of the new school year–in fact, they might not ever get straight A’s, and that’s okay!


Oftentimes, we feel pressure to be the best. We feel pressure to set an example for our peers and siblings. We want to create a sense of pride in the people who we look up to. But we can do all of these things, and we can teach young people to do these things as well, even if we aren’t at the top of our class.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

It’s only natural to compare our own abilities, accomplishments and failures to the people around us. We don’t want to be perceived as inferior, dumber, slower, less capable than our friends and peers. However, it’s important to realize that everyone is an individual with different levels of understanding, skill and ability. Just because one person excels in a particular subject in school or is great at a certain sport, that doesn’t mean someone else, no matter how similar they may seem, will have the same aptitude or level of success. It is especially important for parents to not compare their children to their siblings or even to themselves when they were students.

Set short-term and long-term goals

If your child mostly got D’s last school year, it is unrealistic for them to get straight A’s in the first quarter of the school year. Instead, talk with your child and work together to create a goal that is easily measurable and not too drastic–in this example, maybe the goal could be getting a D+ or higher in the first quarter of school. If you follow this trajectory, you can work together to create a goal of the child having a C+ or better by the end of the school year.

Don’t be afraid to modify your goals

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we hope they will. Maybe your child has a particularly tough teacher, or they have to take a class where the concepts just aren’t clicking for them. This  might lead you to modifying your original goal. This shouldn’t be taken as a sign of defeat, but it also shouldn’t be interpreted as a free pass for failure. Encourage your child to continue working hard, and recognize the strides they are making.

Reward progress and effort

It can be difficult to work towards a goal if you don’t see the value of the outcome–a sense of pride is enough for some people to reach their goals, but other people need something else. Work with your child to decide what an appropriate reward for accomplishing their goals will be. You don’t want to get too outlandish with your rewards, but it is important to recognize the hard work your child is putting in towards their goals, and rewarding these goals is a great way to keep them going. It is also important to check in on the progress of the goals regularly to let your child know that you haven’t forgotten about the goals and you care about their progress. This is a great way to encourage them and keep them on the path towards achieving their goals!

Of course, these goals don’t have to be academic. Maybe getting up in the morning is a struggle for your child, or they constantly forget their lunch at home. Focus on what your child needs to achieve their own success, and involve them in the process to work towards solving their problems.

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Ease the Back to School Transition

Authored by: Chris Bereshnyi, Family Therapist

It’s that time of year that children dread, but parents love: back to school. Although it provides a break for parents, starting out the school year on the right foot is important. And like most things, that takes planning.


One of the biggest issues is transitioning back to an earlier bedtime. Kids will want to maximize their opportunities to sleep in, and parents want to avoid, or at least minimize, the hassles of getting their kids to go to bed earlier. One way to accomplish this is to have them go to bed a little earlier than they did the night before. This should be combined with restricting electronic use at bedtime, if they are not able to self-monitor and turn them off when they go to bed. This process should be start about a week before school commences.


Along with adequate sleep, it’s important for kids to eat breakfast. According to the USDA (, eating breakfast regularly helps kids with their problem-solving skills, behavior, and reduces the chances that they will be overweight.

Since we’re talking about routines, creating (or reviewing) an after-school routine also helps. For example, planning fifteen minutes for a snack when the kids get home from school, and then doing homework. Although the needs of each family may differ, teaching your kids to delay gratification will serve them well in adulthood.

In conclusion, as with anything, consistency is important, and sticking to the schedule (which is understandably easier said than done), will help minimize problems.

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

What an amazing experience looks like!

Authored by: Sarafina Shukuru, Intern from the Refugee Program

My experience as an intern at Youth Services was uniquely awesome. I thought it would be challenging and something I wouldn’t be able to handle, but it turned out to be the opposite of what I expected.


I did and learned from various tasks. I helped at the warehouse, cleaning, and scanning some papers. Each day was different. I remember one day, all I  did was fixing brochures. Other days, I would be scanning some volunteer paperwork and calling to invite future candidates to join.

The experience was as an office specialist. If I has the opportunity, I would defiantly do this again.  Would I recommend someone to come be an intern? Of course I would. Who wouldn’t want to have an amazing experience getting to learn about what it is like to work with people who are dedicated in helping kids?

It was a great opportunity. For someone who wants to be an intern here or even volunteer, I would say do it. You won’t regret the decision.

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Turn Around Bright Eyes: There’s a Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun

Authored by: Liz Sollis, Salt Lake County Library

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will take place and the County Library is offering several programs and viewing parties to help maximize this incredible experience.

Whether you’re looking for solar eclipse storytimes, crafts, or information on the solar system, we’ve got a variety of programs for science enthusiasts of all ages and learning abilities taking place in August.


In addition to sharing information about the solar eclipse, some of our branches are giving away solar eclipse viewing glasses (while supplies last, at limited locations) to people who attend their solar eclipse program. If you can’t attend one of these programs, or the program you attend doesn’t offer glasses, you may make your own viewing tools using instructions found on the County Library website. Viewing glasses may also be purchased at Clark Planetarium.

To find a County Library solar eclipse program near you, and to learn a few fun facts about the total solar eclipse, go to


Programs and events taking place at other locations across the County, as well as basic solar eclipse information, can be found using this hashtag: #AllEyesOnTheSky and by visiting the Clark Planetarium website.

Solar Eclipse Safety Tip: NEVER look directly at the sun, especially during a solar eclipse.

You belong at the County Library and your interest to read, create, learn, play and connect is supported by our employees, programs, collection and online resources. Early and lifelong learning, as well as equal access for all, are at the forefront of all that we do. To learn more, literally, visit, and stop by one of our neighborhood branches.


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Respect for Parents Day is Today!

Authored by: Gina Percival, Public Relations Coordinator

Today we are celebrating Respect for Parents Day! Indeed, the perfect chance to honor the love, respect, sacrifice and affection from the people that have loved you the most.

Our recommendation for you is to go spend the day with your parents. Help them around the house and maybe get them a card or small gift to let them know you were thinking of them. There are so many creative ways to show them respect.


The parents’ Day celebration officially came to USA in the year 1994 in an effort to make our families become united and strong by recognizing the leadership roles parents have and their important role in society.

Our parents definitely deserve all of our love, respect and admiration:

They’re older and wiser- They have a few years on you, which means they have seen more of the world and have gathered a wealth of experience- which shouldn’t be underestimated.

They’re there for you no matter what- Parents will see you though the good and the bad and provide a listening ear and some sound advice.

They’ve made a lot of the same mistakes– Why do they seem to know everything? It’s likely because they have been there, done it.

They’re usually right- As much as we hate to admit it- 99% of the time our parents speak the truth and it’s annoying but also to your benefit if you do what they suggest.

They know you better than you know yourself– They can see the things in you that you’re not able to but in telling you- you become more self-aware.

They just want you to be healthy and happy- All a parent ever wants is their child to have a full and happy life. If that’s their aim- everything they say and do is intended to move you towards that destination of keep you there.

They’re proud of all your achievements- They probably still have your first drawing stashed away somewhere and a picture of you holding your degree on the wall. They congratulate you on every highlight of your life.

Their politeness is infectious- And it makes you realize there are some traditions that should still be upheld- like holding the door open for the next person, letting an older person take the seat on the bus and looking up from your phone when someone’s talking to you.

They raised you- They invested time, money, love, patience and effort in making you the person you are today and probably made many sacrifices in the process.

They won’t be around forever- Don’t ever take them for granted because one day they won’t be here- so make the most of every second you spend with them.

Our parents are our greatest gifts. Don’t wait any longer! Time is precious 🙂

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Milestone Service Project

Authored by: Caitlin Adams, Case Manager

On July 9th Milestone participants and staff all came together at the Sandy homes to participate in yard cleanup and staining the outdoor stairs. Our second Sandy home was recently painted by the Good Shepard Lutheran church and now the stairs have a fresh coat of stain to match.


Almost every single Milestone participant showed up for this service project which made the work go quickly and also gave all of the Milestone participants a great sense of pride and teamwork!


The Milestone Program strives to directly connect service projects with the places these young adults live, so they may learn to take care of their living space and also feel a great sense of accomplishment.

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Salt Lake County Youth Services Opened a New Location in West Jordan!

Authored by: Gina Percival, Public Relations Coordinator

Salt Lake County Youth Services South Office has moved from Riverton to Oak Park Place, 8781 South Redwood Rd. Building #3 in West Jordan, UT 84088. The office number is 385-468-4610. Business hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

west jordan

Youth in crisis may come with or without parents or through a law enforcement officer to any of our two locations for counseling. Youth who have committed a status offense or delinquent act not meeting detention guidelines, runaway, truancy, substance abuse, curfew violation and ungovernable youth receive treatment.  Our services include:

  • Juvenile Receiving Center — Crisis counseling, referrals to community agencies and short term placement for youth ages 8 to 17. Free of charge. No appointment is required.
  • Family and Teen Counseling — Short– and Long-term therapy offered. Youth can meet with therapist alone or with the family. Short- term consultation is free of charge.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment- We accept Medicaid and Uninsured.
    • Day Treatment Substance Abuse — serves up to 8 youth ages 14-17. Includes education, skill building groups, counseling, family support and service opportunities.
    • General Substance Abuse Treatment — plans are individualized and may include counseling, family counseling, life skills group, recreational therapy group and case management.
  • Mental Health Treatment- Short– and Long-term mental health therapy is offered. We accept Medicaid and Uninsured.

Our main office located at 177 West Price Avenue, South Salt Lake City, 84115 is operating, with the Juvenile Receiving Center open 24/7.

Salt Lake County Youth Services mission is to provide safety, shelter and support to children, youth and their families in need. The agency offers over 15 services including substance abuse treatment, residential shelter care for youth 0 to 18, after-school programs, short and long-term individual and family counseling, juvenile receiving centers, and resources for homeless youth. For more information visit:, or contact our main office at 385-468-4500.

Posted in Mental Health, Safe Place, SLCO, Substance Abuse | Leave a comment