Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Paul Fraughton | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah President, David Pershing speaks at the University Neighborhood Partners opening of the new Hartland Partnership Center at 1578 W. 1700 South. Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Center’s new space for Salt Lake City’s immigrant community welcomed with open arms
Elbow room » Hartland helps with long- and short-term issues refugees face.
First Published Apr 25 2013 12:00 pm • Last Updated Apr 30 2013 08:09 am

As the manager of the University of Utah’s Hartland Partnership Center in the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Abdulkhaliq Mohamed is a perfect spokesman. He’s affable, witty and passionate about the center’s mission to help the city’s diverse community of immigrants and refugees build the skills they need to be successful in a new country.

But he’s also one of the Hartland’s most inspiring success stories.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The center celebrated its move into a new 10,000-square-foot building on April 16. It’s a dramatic step up from its original space in a three-bedroom apartment at the Seasons at Pebble Creek apartment complex, formerly called the Hartland apartments, which is just next door to the new building.

The center began in the early 2000s when residents at the Hartland, whose constituency at the time was about 75 percent refugees and immigrants speaking dozens of languages, wanted a place to go to help each other gain a foothold in their new home — whether that was learning how to fill out a job application, where to find the nearest bus stop or how to speak English. The center was adopted by the University of Utah’s University Neighborhood Partners in 2004.

Mohamed emigrated from Somalia with family members when he was just 14, and he didn’t know a word of English. He eventually learned enough that by the time he moved to Salt Lake City after finishing high school, he started working with the Hartland Center to find help applying for college. He has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work and is working on a master’s.

"I am who I am because of Hartland," Mohamed said.

Since joining up with the U., Hartland has grown into a partnership between faculty, students and residents who share the goal of helping more residents like Mohamed succeed in Salt Lake’s west-side communities, according to University Neighborhood Partners Director Rosemarie Hunter. Hunter said that starting in 2001, the university recognized that it needed to improve its outreach to residents on the west side, who were severely underrepresented on campus. The Hartland provided a way for the university to start building those ties "so that the idea of higher education actually becomes a choice [for west-side residents,]" Hunter said.

"Ideally, we want to build their own capacity as leaders," she said.

The new space for the Hartland represents new opportunities to serve its growing population. Most of its clientele still reside in the Pebble Creek complex, but thanks to word of mouth, the center was getting too big for its space. Fundraising efforts and community donations, including a $300,000 gift from Goldman Sachs, helped Hartland buy its new building in 2011. There is still approximately $150,000 left to be raised for the entire project.

The center now has room to take in clients who need its services — whether that’s long-term help learning English or financial literacy, or short-term assistance with reading mail or filling out legal documents.

story continues below
story continues below

Juan Gilberto, a Hartland volunteer who started as an immigrant himself, celebrated the Hartland’s new center by performing a song he wrote, called "Hartland." The Spanish lyrics talk about the many nationalities that come together and celebrate diversity. Gilberto said it’s important for people who are new to the community to have a place like that.

"People like us that were received with open arms are receiving others with open arms," he said.


Twitter: @KimballBennion

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.