For the past fifteen months, Park City Community Foundation’s Solomon Fund has been working diligently to connect many young Latinos in our community with out-of-school opportunities, primarily in sports and recreation.
Solomon Fund was created as a program to reach the underrepresented Latino population in our town. The goal of Solomon Fund is integration through recreation. This past year we have been able to include over 1,000 Latino children in sports and other recreational activities throughout our community. Park City offers numerous sports and outdoor activities that appeal not only to tourists and outside eyes but to our own community members. However, the costs of these activities and the lack of broad outreach have created barriers to participation among many Latinos in our community, and that is why Solomon Fund was born.
Solomon Fund has been able to connect participants with all sorts of summer camps and sports opportunities by offering scholarships in order to make pricing more reasonable to Latino families. We also offer translation services to any organization interested, and we translate for parents on an as-needed basis. Offering scholarships and translation services has begun to create an environment of equity surrounding sports and recreation offerings in our community. Park City’s Latino population is about 21%, yet our sports and recreation programs generally do not reflect this growing portion of our community. Solomon Fund has not only allowed young students to feel a part of the community but to feel that dreams can finally become a possibility.
Recently, a young student named Natalia was the beneficiary of some of the services Solomon Fund offers. Natalia is an eight-year-old girl currently living in the Park City community. She had recently participated in a program called Little Bellas. Through a partnership with Solomon Fund, Little Bellas was about to offer her a scholarship. The mission of Little Bellas is to empower young girls on bikes and to have fun being outdoors enjoying the free bike trails Park City has to offer. Natalia said she was both nervous and excited about learning how to ride a mountain bike with gears and hand brakes. Little Bellas provided the bike for the program, but when the five-week program came to an end, Natalia had to return her bike. Because of a partnership with Storm Cycles, Solomon Fund was able to spring into action and surprise Natalia with a brand-new mountain bike to continue practicing the new mountain biking skills she learned from Little Bellas. The excitement and gratitude for this new sport can be seen through her bright smile, she loved riding during the five-weeks and now she will be able to use the Park City trails for the rest of her summer and continue to grow in the sport.
It is important to realize what an impact Park City Community Foundation’s Solomon Fund and our whole community has on our young students. When students are exposed to activities at a young age they gain a sense of belonging and start to dream big. Knowing that there are people around them that care and want to give them opportunities will never cut short a child’s dreams. There are more children like Natalia, children who deserve to pursue something they love, and in her case, that was mountain biking.