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Community Leadership

Headshot of woman with dark, straight shoulder length hair against blurry backgroundJuliette Bautista came to Utah from Peru to access medical treatments for her daughter. Once here, Juliette saw how underrepresented Latinx residents were in Utah's booming tech fields. Drawing on her own tech background, Juliette launched Club Ability in 2019, which runs Spanish and English language courses in computer coding for young people.

As she was building her organization, Juliette joined Startups by Westside Leadership Institute, a partnership that supports residents in building organizations to address community priorities. She also got involved with the Community Research Collaborative in its efforts to ensure that university research is done in collaboration with community. In 2021, Juliette received awards from the Women Tech Council and Living Color for her work.

Community Leadership partnerships support west side residents as they strengthen their leadership and organizing skills, insert their voices into decision-making that affects their neighborhoods, and catalyze positive change in their communities. These partnerships address the need for diverse voices in local decision making and are based on the belief that effective problem-solving comes from having many stakeholders and viewpoints around the table. These partnerships offer opportunities for university and community partners to work together on civic engagement and participation. Long-term goals include:

  • Individual capacity building: Provide residents with opportunities to strengthen and practice leadership skills
  • Organizational capacity building: Enhance resident capacity to organize others around issues they care about
  • System change: Connect residents with decision-making positions through which they can begin to change the systems that effect their lives.

See below for examples of active UNP-supported partnerships.

Westside Leadership Institute

Westside Leadership Institute (WLI) supports residents' and community-based organizations' efforts to take action for positive change in their communities. WLI offers three opportunities for leadership development and learning, including FUNDAMENTALS, an introductory leadership course, WORKSHOPS, a series of more advanced learning opportunities, and STARTUPS, an incubator for community-based organizations. WLI is run in collaboration with NeighborWorks Salt Lake and other university and community partners.

West Valley Resident Committee

Over a dozen resident leaders, from teenagers to elders, representing diverse groups and organizations across the city, make up the West Valley Resident Committee. These leaders are working together to identify goals for themselves and their community and will help ensure that community assets and priorities are centered in all partnership areas. Their members are shaping the direction of the U West Valley initiative, and are active in the community, including some who lead grassroots organizations such as Comunidad Materna en Utah and Healthy West Valley.

Members of resident committee standing in a line outside

Hartland Resident Committee

The Hartland Resident Committee is made up of local resident leaders in the Glendale neighborhood who are committed to enhancing the community in which they live. The Resident Committee serves as a liaison and advocate for bringing the UNP Hartland Partnership Center and the community into partnership. The Resident Committee also serve as advocates by talking with residents regarding their strengths, resources, and needs. They also help to identify means and partnerships for ensuring that classes are culturally appropriate and in line with the community’s mission along with regularly attending partnership and steering committee meetings to help guide UNP’s mission.

Utah Community Advocate Network

The Utah Community Advocate Network (UCAN) works to increase engagement in schools, wellbeing, and pathways to higher education among families in west side Salt Lake neighborhoods. UCAN does this through collaborative partnerships with families, school staff and administrators, and other community partners, with community members in leadership roles.

UNP Partnership Curriculum

The UNP Partnership Curriculum synthesizes what UNP has learned about building community partnerships and shares that knowledge and skill with partners in community organizations, agencies, and other spaces. This curriculum was initially developed by Kimberly Schmit, Kara Byrne, and Susie Porter in collaboration with UNP staff. Now, Kimberly Schmit, as UNP’s Director of Community Praxis, is spearheading the project, which piloted in 2022.

Westside Studio

The Westside Studio brings together the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah with NeighborWorks Salt Lake, the City of Salt Lake, local residents, and other stakeholders, to identify assets in west side neighborhoods, develop proposals for building upon these assets, and work toward implementing the proposals through collaborative envisioning, advocating, and demonstrating with the goal of enhancing the vitality and vibrancy of west side communities. Each year the Studio selects projects related to community development, urban design, economic development, green infrastructure, and/or arts & culture. The Studio emphasizes the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders from governmental agencies to neighborhood groups and individuals.

Participant presenting ideas on whiteboard