Linda Martinez Saville operates a place in Sandy where kids are safe and protected. At The Sandy Club: A Safe Place for Boys & Girls, children, parents and grandparents have a resource to develop life skills and create a better home environment.
Saville understands how important it is to teach children to respect themselves and others, and to value their own talents. After teaching high-risk kids in the Jordan School District for 30 years and operating the Sandy club for almost 20 years, she knows the challenges children and parents face. Drugs, abuse, homelessness and neglect are abundant, even in a city like Sandy. She believes she has created a program to help everyone in a child’s life.
“My goal was to make this [club] a safe haven,” Saville says. “I don’t care if it’s a child or an adult. They can come and know they will get help. It’s like a great big house, and I’ve made it look like that because I want them to know they can come to this big house and be safe.”
Saville works with many children who are abused, living in shelters or facing other challenges. She helps educate grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and teaches parents basic job search skills like filling out resumes and job applications. With a facility located in one of the lowest-income areas in Sandy, Saville says she has seen it all.
She’s also not afraid to ask local businesses for donations to keep the club operating and to give these kids good experiences. She considers herself a “walking billboard” and isn’t below begging to get the supplies the children at the club need.
“I’m trying to educate the community, so if they have an extra $10, they can donate to our club,” she says. “There’s a place in Sandy that really needs your help.”
Many children return to the club as adults, either to volunteer or to tell Saville how important the Sandy Club was in their lives. She recalls the story of a young girl who she describes as “the most beautiful girl without a smile.” The young girl was being molested at home and came to the club for safety.
Years later, this young girl visited Saville to tell her how the club had turned her life around. The girl was attending college on a basketball scholarship and wanted to be a gym teacher to encourage children to embrace their talents. Saville says that kind of reunion happens all the time.
“I believe with all my heart that we’ve saved thousands of lives. My payback is when the kids come back and say, ‘Linda, because of this club, I made it.’”
To donate to The Sandy Club, call 801-561-4854.