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Educational Liaison for the Salt Lake City School District Mike Harman and Salt Lake City Neighborhood Housing Services will both receive University Neighborhood Partner’s 3rd annual Bridge Builder Awards this Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007, during UNP’s 3rd annual CommUnity Day. UNP Director Dr. Rosemarie Hunter will present them with plaques on behalf of UNP.

“Mike has been an integral part of UNP since it’s inception. He has played a key role in forming the mission and goals of UNP, particularly in the areas of Youth Education and Success. As the Co-chair of the YES working committee, Mike provided the leadership for developing UNP initiatives focused creating pathways from public education to higher education,” said Hunter.

“NHS has had the vision to see how the connection between the University and the west side neighborhoods could benefit both. Most importantly, they have been patient and steady in their commitment to these partnerships as UNP has learned how to bridge these two worlds,” wrote UNP Associate Director Sarah Munro.

Last year’s Bridge Builder Award recipient, Victoria Mori, director of Guadalupe Schools, nominated Harman. Among the accomplishments she noted that illustrate the “energy he has infused into the west side community,” Mori cited Harman’s role as Poplar Grove Community Council Chairman and his work to develop the SOAR program through Neighborhood House Day Care Center. SOAR is a 45-day summer program for 13-14 year old youth-kids that are too young to get a job and too old to be in child care-to develop life skills such as job training, social skills, team work and community values. Mori wrote that she “can think of no individual who deserves this award more than Mike.”

Harman has served on UNP’s Board of Advisors for the past five years. Harman served as co-chair of UNP’s Youth Education and Success committee and was instrumental in establishing a foundation for the eight partnerships under that target area.  In this role, he worked with partner agencies to develop initial sponsorship of UNP’s signature summer event “Partners in the Park.” He also worked to create age appropriate material in English and Spanish for west Salt Lake parents and youth to prepare for higher education. He also fostered the idea of bringing youth up to the U of U, such as what CommUnity Day aspires to do. 

Harman has lived in west Salt Lake for over 10 years. He has a degree in psychology from the University of Utah in Psychology and a master’s degree in counseling.

Salt Lake City Neighborhood Housing Services is being recognized for their exceptional leadership and their active and dedicated role in creating and sustaining three partnerships-WLI, Westside Studio, and Hartland Financial fitness program.

Munro said that “NHS staff-notably Maria Garciaz and Daniel Pacheco-have worked closely with U of U faculty and students in all three partnerships. They have problem-solved and found ways to connect on a person-to-person level.”

NHS has been the site of UNP’s five sessions of community leadership training through the Westside Leadership Initiative, as well as providing staff to serve as WLI instructors. Their insight into west Salt Lake neighborhoods provided guidance when the WLI curriculum was revamped to have a Salt Lake City specific focus. Their investment in this partnership has resulted in 92 west Salt Lake WLI graduates over the past five years.

As a partner of the Financial Fitness Program at the Hartland Partnership Center, NHS provides resources to help prepare residents for home ownership. Thirty percent of the residents that leave Hartland Apartments do so as first time home buyers. 

In addition, NHS has played a crucial role in bringing resident voices to the table to shape the student redevelopment plans that have emerged from the Westside Studio. The Westside Studio is a University of Utah architecture and urban planning graduate-level course taught and housed in west Salt Lake that focuses on creating revitalization and redevelopment plans for the North Temple street corridor that connects the Westside neighborhoods to downtown Salt Lake. NHS has provided both the space and their network of community residents so that students can work in collaboration with residents.

UNP bridges Utah’s flagship university, with six ethnically and culturally rich neighborhoods west of State Street in mutually-beneficial ways for both west side residents and the University of Utah community. The Bridge Builder Award was established to honor the efforts of those individuals who embody UNP’s partnership principal of reciprocal learning, action, and benefit in ways that help the west Salt Lake and University community come together. CommUnity Day is an annual event that allows west Salt Lake families involved in UNP partnerships to experience the University of Utah as a family and to learn about the University’s resources and opportunities, as well as the chance to cheer for the Utes during one of their home football games.