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Park City Community Foundation combines programs providing greater access to extracurriculars

The Park City Community Foundation announced a new name for Solomon and RISE Funds Sunday. The financial support programs will now be one fund called Youth United.

The Solomon Fund was created in 2016 to make sports and recreation opportunities more accessible to Latinx youth. The fund partners with local organizations to set up scholarships, recruit Latinx kids and connect them to gear like bikes and skis.

The Solomon Fund was focused on elementary and middle school kids, so the RISE Fund was created in 2020 to focus on high school students. The RISE Fund helps eliminate fees, travel and equipment costs so Latinx youth can participate in extracurricular activities.

Diego Zegarra is the vice president of equity and impact for the Community Foundation. He said the programs aim to have equal representation in sports and extracurriculars.

“What if activities outside the school walls were representative of our Park City School District? In all ways, shapes and forms? What if there was 20% Latino representation?” Zegarra said.

However, since the two programs have such similar goals, the foundation decided they should be combined. The Solomon Fund and RISE Fund are now Youth United.

After the announcement of the new name, families were able to participate in a registration event put on twice a year. Zegarra said the event is meant to centralize all resources, activities and summer camps that exist in the Park City area so Spanish-speaking families can learn about them and possibly sign up.

Maggie Hernandez was there with her daughter. They have lived in Park City for four years and Hernandez said the Solomon Fund helped her kids attend art, theatre and cooking classes.

“They have been great classes, just wonderful experiences, that they've learned things that they probably wouldn't have learned before," she said. "For example, through youth theatre, they have become more confident.”

Brian Rae was there to encourage other kids to participate in boxing. While the RISE program didn’t exist in 2018 when Rae started the sport, he said it’s now helping him get back into boxing.

“This year, I could probably start going more competitively because of that," he said. "It's really a life-changing program.”

Zegarra said the program not only connects Latinx kids with sports and extracurriculars, it creates a more inclusive community.

“When anecdotally you walk through the high school, and you walk through a lot of schools in Park City, and you're going to notice segregation at the lunchroom table. Except when sports are involved, you see sports teams sitting together because that those bonds have transcended,” he said.

Zegarra hopes Youth United can continue to expand to support as many students as possible in the Park City community.