United Way of Utah County or Sub for Santa is a local Christmas charity that provides gifts for children, elderly, and disabled in the Utah County area. Sub for Santa has partnered with United Way of Utah County for over 35 years. Last year over 5,100 children in 1,400 families were served by generous community sponsors through Sub for Santa.
United Way of Utah County and Sub For Santa
We’re on a mission to build resilient kids and strong communities.
Every year, Utah County middle school and high schoolers are asked:
During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?*
The number of children answering yes to this question has almost doubled in the last 6 years. More of our children feel alone and sad than ever before, and could be at risk for clinical depression.
( *This question comes from the Utah County SHARP data. You can learn more about SHARP data here)
What can I possibly to do help the people around me?
We all know that a kid who’s hungry can’t focus on making good grades.
But kids have other needs that are just as important. They need to feel safe. They need to feel connected to the people around them. And they need to feel confident in their abilities and skills.
These are the pillars of emotional health.
If your friend was having an asthma attack, you wouldn’t say: “what’s causing this?”
Instead, you’d waste no time in figuring out what her needs are: can she breathe? Does she need to sit down? Then you’d work hard to meet those needs.
Emotional well-being isn’t that different.
It is easy to believe that most children are safe. But even if a child may be safe, he may not feel safe. He may be afraid of getting in trouble or letting a loved one down.
A child who feels safe knows that she can tell the adults in her life the truth about herself, and she will always be loved, no matter what.
Connection is more than just being in the same space as your child. It is doing activities that the child enjoys, even if you don’t always enjoy that activity.
Connection is when a child feels their parent, teacher or friend really understands her.
After a child begins to feel safe and connected with those around them, he can start working on becoming confident in his abilities and develop pride in his work.
Keep in mind: it’s more important to praise a child for the accomplishments she cares about, not just the ones that look impressive from the outside.
What are people saying about United Way of Utah County and Sub For Santa?
“I used to focus on a sort of carrot and stick approach–but when I ask myself instead, ‘what needs aren’t met in this child?’ I find that I’m more compassionate, a better listener, and ultimately a more effective grandparent.”
– Jack Holmes, 6 kids, 28 grandkids, and 2 great-grandkids
“This approach is different from most other ones out there. It empowers parents. It empowers the child. If I could magically wish for one thing, I would wish for parents, on a daily or weekly basis, to look at their kids and ask themselves ‘what can I do this week to help improve and facilitate my children’s sense of safety, their connections, and their competence?'”
-Dr. Matt Swenson, child psychiatrist, Intermountain Healthcare
“It doesn’t matter how many interventions we give a child—if their core needs to feel safe, connected, and confident aren’t being met, you’ll find it difficult to help that child. When those needs are met, children are remarkably resilient.”
– Barbara Leavitt, MPA, founder of Help Me Grow Utah
Matthew Poll on
United Way of Utah County
“We’re very happy to have been able to support United Way of Utah County. This organization is a great way to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I highly recommend getting involved with it if possible.
We look forward to future charitable donations and are always searching for the next charitable organization to help. We are lucky to have a knowledge of day trading and to have found a way to use it to help in our community.”