This past week, my family celebrated the wedding of my oldest child.

Weddings, like other big transition moments in life, are always times to step back and take stock of what really matters to us — and I’ve done a lot of reflecting recently. As I’ve watched my son and his new bride prepare for their marriage, I’ve thought a lot about their future and what I hope for them and the generation to come. So today, I’d like to share a few of those hopes.

These are hopes that I have for all the families in our community; hopes that will help our community remain vibrant and strong for many generations.

I hope that our community will always continue to be a place where kids will be safe, where they will thrive and where they will enjoy growing up. When I look at my own children, I am so grateful that they had the opportunity to grow and develop here, surrounded by so many supports to help them succeed. And I hope that all children, now and in the future, have that same opportunity.

I hope that our community will be one that always puts education at the center of our lives. I hope our community always invests in and focuses on our schools. Learning is so crucial for each of us, and especially for our young children. By prioritizing education, we will ensure that all of our kids are able to access the resources and tools they need to accomplish their goals and live happy, productive lives.

I hope that our community will always live and teach the value of helping others; that people remember that the phrase “Love your neighbor” isn’t just a quote from an ancient book of scripture, but that it is a way of life. Throughout my years at United Way, I have been privileged to work with so many people from all different backgrounds and experience who truly live for others. That commitment to serving others, from volunteering to financial donations, makes Utah County unique. I hope that uniqueness never ends.

I hope that our community will always be full of people who realize that happiness starts at home, and that our relationships with those around us are the most important things we have. I hope that our neighborhoods are places where neighbors really do know each other — places where neighbors care for and connect with each other. It is only through those relationships that we find the support we need to make it through challenges. Those bonds make our community strong.

And I hope that as our community grows, we keep making decisions that will benefit the next generations. I hope we don’t get distracted by solutions that seem easy now but don’t support the children coming after us. I hope we continue to be a community whose people work hard to prevent, not just solve problems. And I hope each generation works hard to make this place even better for the next one.

We each have different times in our lives that lead us to reflect on the future. As I’ve been reflecting on this new stage in my son’s life, I’ve remembered how grateful I am for this community that has helped shelter, teach and support him throughout his life. Let’s commit now to work together to keep our community vibrant for all the generations coming after us.

For more information about United Way’s work to create opportunities for people and build our community, please visit http://unitedwayuc.org or call 801-374-2588.