Kyle Price had no clue that signing up for a service learning class as part of his curriculum at the University of Utah would change his life. He knew it would give him a chance to experience education outside of the classroom, but he didn’t know it would determine the course of his future.
Kyle was assigned to volunteer at Guadalupe School to teach English to adult immigrants. In alignment with the adult education’s small group model, he was given a group of four men from Central America in their 20s and 30s and was tasked with teaching the group his native language. But Kyle admits he learned as much he taught.
As he spent time with his students, Kyle learned about their personal lives: their families, their interests and the struggles they faced living in a foreign nation. Kyle says he remembers one student in particular who completely changed his outlook on life and the direction it was taking.
This student was Miguel, who, when he was not attending English classes, worked tirelessly at a mechanic shop. Lately he had been having some trouble with his employer because Miguel was 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 was 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 to the local level 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.” 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 a meaningful interaction in an educational environment turned into a life calling.
At the heart of our community are people like Kyle Price and organizations like Guadalupe School, which, since 1966, has provided hope to thousands of Utah’s children and adults through the transforming power of education.
Follow the Heart of Our Community blog where you can read more inspiring stories about the Guadalupe School and some of the people whose lives have been impacted by its programs.
It’s people like Kyle Price that make our community great!