News Release

How ‘My Hometown’ Is Bringing Communities Together in Utah

'My Hometown' just completed its season of service across several Utah communities where communal bonds are strengthened.

The My Hometown initiative, which began three years ago in West Valley, Utah, brings together local churches (including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and corporate and public sponsors to organize neighbors and other resources to help meet needs. These include improving residential living conditions and maintaining access to available services and community information.

All the while, people connect and serve together.

“We had learned enough in our efforts over the years to realize that neighborhood sustainability is about the people that live in the neighborhoods,” said West Valley City Manager Wayne Pyle. “Absolutely. No question. There are things that we can do to assist and help with that. But in the end, it’s the neighborhoods and the people that live in them themselves that have got to be able to ensure that longevity and sustainability in the neighborhoods.”

The Church of Jesus Christ, whose teachings bring people together, is a natural collaborator.

“We worked with the city and said, ‘All right, let’s systematically go after this,’” said Elder Kevin W. Pearson, Utah Area President. “The cities provided equipment, trucks, backhoes, all these dumpsters, individuals who wanted to help, paid for the materials and block captains helped organize it. Specialists came in and organized the project and what would be needed.”

Block captains are residents charged with getting to know neighbors, identifying resources and needs, and passing along information.

“The projects are a vehicle to create neighborhoods where people know each other and want to spend time together and help each other,” said Diane Langeland, a block captain in North Salt Lake.

The initiative has also been implemented in Ogden and Provo.

“There is great, great happiness that comes in getting outside of yourself and serving other people,” Elder Pearson said. “Life is a lot better. The world’s a lot better. Our communities, our neighborhoods are a lot better when there’s a community where people are proud to live there. They trust one another, they help one another. And that’s what we’re hoping for. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Church leaders teach that God often blesses us through the service of others.

“The Lord wants to bless His people, [and] it’s through others that he does it,” Langeland said. “And we’re trying to be the others.”

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