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For Sheryl Sweeten, a Comcast construction supervisor, the best day of working for the media company, "hands down," is its annual Comcast Cares Day of Service.

Sweeten was one of more than 8,000 employees and community volunteers who spent Saturday morning landscaping and cleaning schools, parks and community centers along the Wasatch Front.

"We get to show the people that we're always trying to sell products to, that there is a human being behind all the phone calls," she said, "that we care about what happens here."

At Mountain View Elementary and the adjacent Glendale Community Learning Center, Sweeten supervised as teams of workers planted grass, cleared garbage and weeds, and cleaned the buildings' interiors.

She said Comcast employees who participate aren't paid or rewarded for their time beyond the satisfaction of helping out.

"When everybody leaves here, they're exhausted and they're ecstatic," Sweeten said. "We've had a wonderful day. The number one rule is that everybody has a good time."

Similar service projects were held at sites nationwide, including 15 in Utah, according to Merlin Jensen, Comcast's vice president of operations for Utah and Arizona.

The annual service event, now in its 15th year, is something the company is passionate about, he said. "We employ a large number of people in these communities and our customers all come from the community," Jensen said. "Making sure that we participate and give back to the communities is something that is really important."

In addition to staffing schools and city parks with a fleet of volunteers each year, the event provides donated funds to the service sites.

Last year, according to a Comcast spokesman, Utah's 8,800 volunteers generated $160,000 for the Salt Lake Education Foundation, The Road Home and other community organizations.

Mountain View Elementary Assistant Principal Jennifer Mayer-Glenn said that money is set aside as scholarships for after-school and summer-school programming at the Glendale Community Learning Center.

"We come together to celebrate often, but to come together and be able to do service together like this is really beautiful," she said.

Mayer-Glenn also said that service projects provide a unique cross-cultural activity for the diverse community on Salt Lake City's west side.

"You don't have to talk when you're using a shovel," she said. "There's this communication that happens when you're doing work together."

Among the volunteers at Mountain View Elementary was Salt Lake City Councilman Andrew Johnston.

He said coordinated service projects have a huge impact, filling gaps between what is needed and what the city is able to provide.

"There are fewer and fewer resources and it's not enough money to do what we need to do," Johnston said. "None of us alone can do it all so it's great to have Comcast as a partner."

Twitter: @bjaminwood