By Danielle Lankford, Communications Specialist
In 2003, Kyle Price was a typical young student at the University of Utah. Pursuing a college degree, but not quite sure yet where he was headed. As part of his general education, Kyle signed up for a service learning class, for a chance to experience education outside the classroom. But, as it turned out, he would be the teacher in this class.
He was placed to volunteer here at Guadalupe School teaching English to adult immigrants, and that experience is what transformed his path in life from one of uncertainty to one of direction, dedication, and service working in the nonprofit world.
In consistency with the adult education’s small group model, he was given a group of four men from Central America in their 20’s and 30’s and was tasked with teaching them his native language. But, Kyle also learned while he taught.
As he spent time with his students, he learned about their personal lives: their families, their interests, and the struggles they faced being immigrants in a foreign nation. Kyle says he remembers one student in particular who completely changed his outlook on life and his direction.
When he was not attending English classes, Miguel worked tirelessly at a mechanic shop, but had lately been having some trouble with his employer due to being undocumented. Tired of the way he was being treated, Miguel sought legal counsel. He wanted to become a citizen so that he could actually see the fruits of his labor. He saved up and invested a lot of money in hiring an immigration attorney, but once the money had changed hands, Miguel never heard from his attorney again.
Kyle says this is the moment where his life was transformed. He could not believe that someone would take advantage of such a vulnerable, hardworking individual. He said, “I was just totally shaken by that.” Shaken so much, that he decided right then and there what he would do with his life. He knew he wanted to be an advocate for people like Miguel.
So, Kyle decided to major in political science at the University of Utah, taking classes in sociology and community development. After college he took that interest and passion in local level change and joined the Peace Corps and later went on to work for the International Rescue Committee. Today, he is a Community School Coordinator with United Way of Salt Lake, where he takes care of the school that started it all.
After years of nonprofit work, Kyle says he enjoys working with UWSL because of their innovative approach to strengthening and empowering communities, and he still loves the Guadalupe School, which he believes is, “a great model to affect the whole family and further opportunities.” And, his favorite part of it all - is interacting with the families that he has the privilege of helping every day, even if it’s with something as small as a new pair of glasses from United Way’s mobile vision clinic.
Each time he interacts with these families, Kyle remembers that time when his education and his educatING transformed his life and brought him full circle to where he is today… That time when a meaningful interaction in an educational environment turned into a calling.