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Sandy Journal

Mayor’s new initiative helps kids learn how to promote positive change

May 07, 2024 10:31AM ● By Rebecca Olds

Students at Glacier Hills Elementary raise their hands in response to Mayor Monica Zolinski asking if they live in Sandy. (Courtesy Sandy City)

Starting in March, Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski began a new initiative that may take her more than a year to complete. It’s called the “Hitch up to Good Citizenship Program: Care, Contribute, Connect,” that teaches children from elementary to high school that they can make a difference in their community. 

“We’re just ramping up,” Zoltanski said, adding that she hopes to make it to every elementary and middle school in Sandy. “It’s something I definitely plan to continue to do as long as I’m mayor.”

Glacier Hills Elementary was the fourth school to be a part of the initiative, following Entrata High School, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School and Waterford Middle School. 

Zoltanski presented to third, fourth and fifth graders at the elementary on April 8, teaching them about local city government with Councilwoman Alison Stroud, who is a third-grade teacher herself. 

“I think it’s great that she’s out there talking to the children and helping them understand that there are positive members of our community, and how they can use their voices to promote good change,” said Mallory Robbins, fifth-grade teacher at Glacier Hills Elementary School.

The three C’s of the initiative, care, contribute and connect, is how Zoltanski first got involved with city government, she told students. 

“I didn’t have any special pedigree, I just came to public service through an issue that was important to me,” Mayor Zoltanski said.  

Zoltanski’s passion that introduced her into public service was her love of horses and Dimple Dell Park. She fought to preserve the park’s natural beauty.

“If I can find it through horses, they can find it through volleyball or science or design or music,” she told the
City Journals.

“Whatever your passion is in life it can create an opportunity for you to help the lives of others,” Zoltanski said. “You have the ability to create community exactly where you are.”

It’s about finding something you care about, she said, and figuring out how that passion can contribute to and connect the overall community—it’s a concept that the school was familiar with from the get go.

Principal Julia Winfree said that when the school opened just over a year ago, there was a crosswalk at the corner of the school but one day the paint was removed and there wasn’t a crosswalk anymore. Winfree said that teachers, PTA members, crossing guards and faculty were concerned about safety without the crosswalk being painted on the road.

“We have a lot of traffic out front every day and so we were passionate in the school and community councils,” Winfree said. “It was a lot of back and forth.”

In response to the concerns in the community, Stroud told the students during the assembly that a new crosswalk is expected to be painted in the coming months to make walking to and from school safer for Glacier Hills’ Yetis.

“Sandy is here to work for you,” Stroud told students. 

The program is an ongoing opportunity for schools to schedule time with the mayor and teach students about how to be involved and make a difference.

“I see the value of building community,” Zoltanski said. “That early recognition when kids understand where they’re from and what their community can do when we work together…it’s my most
important job.”

Zoltanski is inviting students of all ages to showcase their efforts to improve the community by sharing stories and photos to her email, [email protected], that she’ll randomly feature on her Facebook page. 

“However you get there,” she said, “if we share that common goal of solving problems together, there’s nothing that we can’t do.” λ