Community Capacity and Wellbeing

Headshot of woman with long drark straight hair wearing a blue shirtMayra Zamudio, a mother of nine originally from Mexico, knew first hand the challenges and traumas that women in childbirth can face. Mayra trained as a doula in order to offer a different kind of experience. Seeing the lack of access to prenatal care in the Spanish-speaking community, she launched Comunidad Materna en Utah (CMU). CMU offers education, resources, and doula training in Spanish, with the goal of reducing disparities in birth outcomes.

Mayra joined Startups with WLI, as she worked to grow her organization. She is highly active at the UNP Hartland Partnership Center and other UNP-supported partnerships. When the U announced its commitment to partnering with West Valley City and building a new hospital and campus there, Mayra joined in that effort as part of the West Valley Resident Committee as a voice for community-based and culturally responsive approaches to health.

Community Capacity & Wellbeing partnerships bring together residents, community organizations, and higher education partners to advance the priorities of west side families in the areas of housing, health & wellness, employment, safety, environment, local organizational & community development, civic engagement, and language acquisition. While these partnerships often focus on meeting the most basic needs of a community, family, and individual, they simultaneously build the capacity of community organizations and systems of higher education who are engaged in actively working with the community to find and create long-lasting and sustainable solutions.

Long-Term Goals Include:

  • Two-way integration
    • Individuals and families have opportunities for learning about and connecting with local communities, as well as the larger systems that affect their lives.
    • Community organizations and systems of education have opportunities to engage with residents and community groups for the purpose of expanding their capacity to implement research, teaching, and other practices in partnership with, and informed by, the communities with which they work.
  • Family and neighborhood stability by ensuring that all residents have the resources, access, information, and opportunities they need for educational success.

UNP Hartland Partnership Center

The UNP Hartland Partnership Center is the site of many of UNP’s community capacity and wellbeing partnerships. The Center is based on a holistic model of family support, enhancing community capacity, resident leadership, and access to resources for people right where they live. The Center has evolved over time into a home for over 30 partnerships addressing housing stability, employment pathways, health care, citizenship and language acquisition, and education from pre-K through adults. Guided by a committee of local residents, the Center is driven by community-identified priorities, and provides an extraordinary space of shared learning across community and higher ed partners.

Latino Behavioral Health Services

For almost a decade, LBHS has worked to improve mental health and wellbeing in the Latinx community through peer-based, language-specific, culturally relevant education and services. Birthed by resident Jacueline Gomez-Arias and her colleagues through the Westside Leadership Institution, LBHS now has five offices, a full-time staff of 17, and dozens of volunteers. LBHS serves over 1400 individuals annually across six cities. It has trained over 100 mental health paraprofessionals as certified peer support specialists, case managers, and family resource facilitators. Many have gone on to careers in mental health and social work, helping to build a linguistically and culturally diverse workforce for Utah.

New American Academic Network

The New American Academic Network (NAAN) works with foreign-trained refugees and immigrants to obtain the assessments, course work, and resources they need to work in their fields here in the US. Participants hold a wide range of academic and professional credentials from their countries of origin. NAAN connects them with higher education so participants can return to school and continue their chosen careers. Participants also develop valuable professional networks and relationships that build their social capital.

Welcome Center

The Welcome Center, staffed by student interns from the U College of Social Work, collaborates with community partners to support residents in reaching their goals. At the UNP Hartland Partnership Center, visitors can drop by during open hours for support related to employment, life skills, housing, education, legal aid, and much more.

Case Management Certificate

The Case Management Certificate is a year-long program in which community members study family-focused, strength-based approaches to working in and with their own communities. Graduates, who come from all over the world, go on to work in schools, agencies, grassroots organizations, and other community associations. The certificate is led by the Bridging Borders collaborative.

English Skills

At the UNP Hartland Partnership Center, community members can take two levels of English: Beginner english from our partners at the English Skills Learning Center, and more advanced English from the University of Utah's English Language Institute. Students in these classes come from countries around the world, and can use the classes as a jumping off point to connect with other opportunities.

Citizenship

The Citizenship partnership is a free course collaboration between the English Skills Learning Center and the S.J. Quinney College of Law Pro Bono Initiative that works to provide education, preparation, and English language acquisition needed to pass the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test and interview. The goal of this partnership, is for individuals to work, learn and practice at their own pace in preparing for the reading, writing, and speaking portions of the naturalization test.