United Way of Salt Lake’s major emphasis is on improving lives and building strong communities by focusing in specific neighborhoods, and bringing partners together in more than twenty neighborhood centers scattered throughout Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, and Tooele counties. Through partnerships with organizations, business, other non-profits (and the amazing donations of individuals), these Centers bring communities together by providing resources and services such as, child care, after-school programs, English language classes, health clinics, and many more. There are so many wheels turning to keep these centers up and running that hearing stories of individuals who have benefited from the Centers makes the work that everyone does incredibly worth it!
Fatima came to American in 2003 with her husband. When she arrived, she could not speak, read, or write the language. This kept her from experiencing life the way that she wanted. After being in America for two years, she attempted to learn English on her own, but had many obstacles and found it very difficult. After having a son and wanting to find opportunities for him to learn, she and her husband came across information for the Davis County Community Learning Center at Wasatch Elementary. They initially looked into the center for day care opportunities, but once they became more involved with the center, they realized there was much more being offered.
“The people at the Learning Center help me every day. I have never been to school in my entire life. There was education in Afghanistan, but due to the war, my family had to flee to Pakistan and live in a refugee camp. At the camp there was no education, water, power, or houses. It was very hard. We had nothing.”
Since being involved with the Center, Fatima has learned to read and write English, as well as Spanish. “I have to thank everyone at the Center who helped me to read and write. I am so happy and excited now that I can do these things. My husband is so happy now that I have these opportunities and he is so proud of me. He knows how happy I am now that I am reading. Reading and writing has helped me to make friends and now sometimes I talk TOO much because I am so happy and excited now that I can communicate. I want to talk and be around happy people all the time!!”
Fatima’s son, Yusuf, has also benefited from the Center’s after school program. Yusuf was able to learn numbers, letters, shapes, and colors, which helped him greatly with his education. He loves the Center so much that when Fatima comes to pick him up, he never wants to leave. “He really loves it. When class is over he always wants to stay ten more minutes. That usually ends up being an hour or more!” says Fatima.
We are excited to hear about the wonderful opportunities that Fatima and her family have had through the Davis County Community Learning Center. Being able to read, write, and communicate with others will allow Fatima to be engaged in her son’s learning and become a participating, active member of her community. We are so happy and proud of her success!