Service success

By By Lindsey Herman

By Lindsey Herman

More than 150 U students were recognized this month for an award presented to the University Neighborhood Partners on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Commission presents the MLK Drum Major Award annually to an individual or organization that demonstrates a commitment to King’s ideologies of diversity and community service.

“University Neighborhood Partners was chosen as this year’s community-based organization because of what they do best; that is empowering communities,” said Michael S. Styles, director of black affairs for Utah’s Office of Ethnic Affairs.

For the past five years, UNP has worked with seven Salt Lake City neighborhoods located west of State Street. Activities and programs have included counseling more than 100 potential college students, providing books to more than 300 children through the Youth Book Exchange Program and supporting about 400 Hartland Apartment residents in learning English and finding employment.

Director Rosemarie Hunter received the award on behalf of UNP staff and partners.

“Receiving this award represents the contributions and commitment of all UNP partners who strive to build healthy communities and neighborhoods that celebrate diversity and where all families can make their dreams a reality,” said Hunter.

Sonya Aleman, a PhD student in communication, works with university researchers in developing relationships between the university and the Salt Lake community.

The key focus of the UNP is to increase access to and awareness of higher education for residents of West Salt Lake.

Every Friday, Aleman and other UNP students host a youth book exchange at the UNP lending library. It is a chance for neighborhood children to weekly engage in literacy activities and to receive something new to read.

“The university is able to cultivate an increasingly diverse pool of qualified students for the university’s student body,” Aleman said. “It also empowers the community by equipping residents with the educational skills the university offers.”