Student Stories

Los Angeles

Your support helps us provide life-changing experiences to these amazing students, and many more like them! These are some of their stories.


Kierra: Environmental Science
Los Angeles, CA

Initially interested in animal care, Kierra was apprehensive about apprenticing with Children’s Nature Institute. Children’s Nature Institute focuses on environmental education and works mostly with insects and reptiles -- not the cute and cuddly creatures that had inspired Kierra's love for animals! Kierra quickly overcame her concerns when her mentor Christy gave her the opportunity to interact with the various creatures and insects at the Institue. Just 8 weeks after her first visit, Kierra became a natural at educating others about the environment and handling the reptiles that once terrified her. With support from her mentor, Kierra now loves learning about all animals and educating her friends and family about their role in the environment. Through her Spark experience, Kierra took positive risks and overcame boundaries.


Javier: Structural Engineering
Los Angeles, CA

8th grader Javier's love for building things and his interest in math made him the perfect fit to apprentice with a structural engineer at Walter P. Moore. His apprenticeship exposed him to the latest innovations in engineering. Each session, Javier and mentor worked on challenging math problems to better understand engineering concepts, and then later visited an actual construction site to see this math in action! This way, Javier was able to see the relevancy of the math skills he learns at school to his future goals.


Jahaira: Engineering
Los Angeles, CA

8th grader Jahaira wants to find a way to apply her love of science to her future. Jahaira and mentor Dr. Trinh Pham of the Cal State LA Department of Engineering explored a variety of engineering concepts throughout their apprenticeship, and they decided to focus on the impact of carbon dioxide on the environment for Jahaira's Discovery Night project. Despite the hour-long bus commute to her apprenticeship, Jahaira enjoyed every moment of her time spent learning about environmental engineering and how her actions affect the environment. After apprenticing at the Cal State LA, Jahaira says she hopes to attend this college someday.


Madison: Journalism
Los Angeles, CA

Madison is passionate about the environment and aspires to one day express this passion to the public as a radio announcer. Madison’s mentor Alex was committed to exposing Madison to real world reporting. Through her experiences, Madison learned that the job of a reporter requires many skills, including patience, persistence, and passion. With coaching from Alex, Madison was given the opportunity  to record her very own news piece about clean energy at the Santa Monica Pier at the infamous KCRW studio in Santa Monica.


Carlos: Music Production
Los Angeles, CA

Thanks to his Spark apprenticeship, 8th grader Carlos is well on his way to a career in music production! Known to his friends as "Mr. Solo" because of his love and passion for music, Carlos is committed to pursuing a career in music, despite others' claims that such a career is unlikely. During his apprenticeship at Melody Makers Production, Carlos got to experience this supposedly impossible career tangibly. In just 8 weeks, Carlos and his mentor David wrote and a produced a song, "Let You Know", which is now available on iTunes! This experience motivated Carlos to continue pursuing his dreams.


Vincente: Visual Arts
Los Angeles, CA

8th grader Vicente is an incredible artist.  During his time at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, Vicente worked with his mentor Karl to hone his skills and develop a personal style. Through Vincente's journey, Karl found that he too learned a lot about himself as an artist, so the experience was envigorating for both student and mentor, allowing them to share their passion and inspire each other to improve their craft. 

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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