Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Salt Lake City’s West Side gets short shrift on Youth City programs

Arts and culture programs aren’t reaching many area kids.

First Published Jan 12 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 13 2014 11:25 am

Salt Lake City’s Youth City programs offer after-school and summer activities in arts, culture and government and earn praise for their rich curriculum — but they don’t reach many of the kids they would help most.

According to a Salt Lake City Council staff report, Youth City reaches very few west-side youngsters, although almost half of the city’s children and teenagers live west of Interstate 15.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Youth City is geared toward ages 9 to 14, according to its mission, which states that the program "fosters positive youth development in Salt Lake City by providing out-of-school opportunities for social, emotional, skills, character and citizenship development in an inclusive environment."

But the council staff report reveals that of the 1,623 youngsters in Youth City programs in 2012, only 169 — or less than 11 percent — were from west-side neighborhoods, which are home to about 46 percent of Salt Lake City’s youngsters. Just 61 resided in District 1 and 108 in District 2.

By contrast, 530 kids in the east-side District 5 participated in Youth City; 348 youngster from east-side District 7 took advantage of the programs; and 269 kids from the east side’s District 4 signed up for the after-school and summer programs.

Youth City was created in 2000 to serve kids citywide. Just why the programs are not reaching more west-side youngsters is difficult to understand, said Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, who represents District 2.

"By bringing it to the council, my goal was not to embarrass anyone — but to seek better distribution for one of the best after-school programs offered in Salt Lake City," he said.

The after-school and summer programs are important in communities that include minorities, refugees and low-income wage earners, said state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City. Programs, like Youth City, can be an integral part of a youngster’s education and help them succeed in school and beyond.

The Youth City programs are held during times when many parents may be working, and, as such, keep youngsters busy and out of trouble, according to the program’s website.

James Rogers, who was just sworn in as the District 1 councilman, said he didn’t understand how Youth City programs could have become slanted away from the west side.


story continues below
story continues below

"I’m in this job for the first week and have a view of an outsider looking in," he said. "And you have to wonder how it got like this."

Nonetheless, Rogers said bringing the inequality to light will help build the program on the west side.

"I’m optimistic that these programs will be available to more west-side kids," he said. "And it will be a game changer for them."

csmart@sltrib.com



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
Videos
Jobs
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.