Founded in 2004 by teachers Chris Balme and Melia Dicker, Spark has always aspired to strengthen the community in two ways: by helping youth become motivated learners and connected community members, and by encouraging adults to nurture the next generation through mentoring and volunteerism.
Spark has grown rapidly since its inception. Enrollment grew by more than 50% year over year, and after five years, Spark expanded from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles in 2010 and Chicago in 2011, with plans to expand to Oakland and Philadelphia this year.
To provide life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities across the United States.
30% of students in the United States drop out of high school, with the dropout rate exceeding 50% in the highest need neighborhoods. This is one of the greatest social justice issues of our time.
Spark addresses the dropout crisis by connecting volunteer professionals with underserved youth in workplace apprenticeships to “spark” their potential. Students identify a “dream job,” and Spark matches that student with a mentor doing that job. These apprenticeships are complemented by a Leadership Class, which helps students connect apprenticeship learning to school. As students explore the school-to-career connection, they build skills critical for academic success, gain a strong appreciation for the relevance of their education, and become motivated to work hard to achieve their dreams.
Spark is a national nonprofit that provides life-changing apprenticeships to middle school students from disadvantaged communities. Spark’s one-on-one workplace apprenticeships empower young people to succeed in their education and beyond.
Spark @ Frick
Our Spark group of students were interviewed and selected last school year. These students have been grouped together into the same 6th period class so that are able to receive the Spark specific instruction as a group. Student internships are starting in October, so be on the look out for updates.