Spark Announces Vice President of California Regions

National Youth Mentoring Nonprofit Promotes Los Angeles Executive Director

Spark LA's Yoon S. Choi, Ph.D., accepts VP of California Regions role

Spark, a national nonprofit youth apprenticeship program, today announced the promotion of Yoon S. Choi, Ph.D., from Executive Director of Spark Los Angeles to Vice President of Spark California Regions.  Choi will oversee program and development for both Spark Los Angeles and Spark San Francisco Bay Area.

As the Executive Director of Spark Los Angeles beginning in 2013, Choi established the region as the organization's top-performing sector.  Under her leadership, Spark Los Angeles increased its budget and the number of middle grade students paired in one-to-one mentoring relationships.

“With Yoon’s expertise in management, partnerships and development, we couldn’t think of anyone better-suited for the new role,” said Jason Cascarino, Chief Executive Officer of Spark. “This position enables Yoon to expand her commitment to education in California while honoring the unique partners, Board Members and communities in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area.  It also affords the opportunity for both Spark regions to grow their teams with new roles in development and program leadership.”

Prior to joining Spark in 2013, Choi was the Director of Foundation Relations at Para Los Niños, a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to supporting LA's most vulnerable children and families through educational, family support and mental health services. There, Choi secured a total of $2.6 million in funding in its first year. She also worked as a Consultant and Program Officer for several international nonprofits throughout East Asia. An experienced author, editor and translator, Choi holds a BA in English from Scripps College, a MA in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU, and a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from University of California, Irvine.

In reflecting on her expanded role with Spark, Choi said, “The Bay Area is Spark’s founding region and I am excited to grow existing partnerships and build new ones to strengthen our presence. We will continue to build momentum in Los Angeles and serve more students and mentors throughout the region.”  Choi will be based in Spark’s San Francisco Bay Area office with frequent travel to Los Angeles.


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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