About Spark

Mission

Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th graders in underserved communities to succeed in high school and beyond by engaging them with mentors and future careers. 

As young teens transition to young adults, it is the best time to show them what’s possible. It’s also a time when 7th, 8th and 9th grade students from underserved communities risk academic disengagement.

Spark inspires these students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.
Join us in equipping and inspiring all students to discover who they can become.

History

Founded in 2004 by teachers and social entrepreneurs Chris Balme and Melia Dicker, Spark strengthens the communities we work in through two paths: by helping underserved youth become motivated learners and connected community members, and by encouraging adults to nurture the next generation through mentoring and volunteerism. Nearly all Spark students come from neighborhoods where dropout rates climb as high as 35%.

Growing rapidly since its inception, Spark's reach continues to expand annually. Now serving students from coast to coast as a national organization, Spark expanded from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles in 2010, Chicago in 2011, Oakland in 2012 and Philadelphia in 2013.

Since 2004, and with more than 5,000 students served, the results are clear: 92% of Spark students have graduated or are on track to graduate on time, compared to an average of 68% in districts Spark serves!

Resources 

Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.

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