President Bush has selected volunteers of the Salt Lake Community Shelter and Resource Center as his 406th "Daily Point of Light," the White House announced this week.
"The shelter has always been a community-based effort," said Patrick Poulin, director of Travelers Aid, which operates the homeless shelter. "This type of recognition certainly speaks to the dedication of the people who donate their time and talents here to meet the needs of the poor in our community."Poulin said the honor for the shelter volunteers was a "nice surprise."The Community Shelter and Resource Center, formerly a large warehouse, is actually two shelters, with separate entrances and living space. The single men's shelter has provided a roof for up to 450 men in extremely cold weather, although it was designed for about 240. The family shelter houses up to 30 families.
More than 160 volunteers plan and participate in shelter activities and help with the daily operational and support services.
Volunteer efforts include students at the University of Utah who act as mentors for homeless people looking for jobs. They help write resumes and develop interview skills. Law students provide legal assistance and nursing students help with health and nutrition workshops. Junior League members conduct volunteer-training programs. Volunteers also help people who have entered the transitional housing program.
The shelter offers "co-located" services, including an on-site medical clinic, a school for children through sixth grade and a program to help homeless people get jobs. There are case managers, laundry facilities, educational assistance and crisis counseling. Volunteers are a crucial part of all shelter operations, Poulin said.
According to a White House press release, the honor is part of the president's "Thousand Points of Light" campaign. Recipients are "those who successfully address our most pressing social problems through direct and consequential acts of community service."