Spark

WHAT WE DO

At Spark, we believe that all students deserve access to the opportunities and resources that inspire a successful future.

Spark engages communities to provide career exploration and self-discovery opportunities that help middle school students understand, experience, and pursue what’s possible. Through a combination of transformative workshops and one-on-one mentorships, Spark is engaging students to think about options for their futures in new and exciting ways.

Spark Group works on an activity during Spark Labs

87 percent

 of students agree that their Spark experience helped them discover new career possibilities to explore

74 percent

of Spark students improved in critical competencies for successful classroom engagement, as reported by their teachers. 

355

working professionals helped students develop social capital, build social-emotional skills, and improve academic performance and engagement.

Mentor and Mentee work on a project

Overview

Spark is a Career Exploration and Self-Discovery program that connects students to mentor companies invested in making a difference in their communities. Together, 7th grade students and their mentors explore different career opportunities, build key skills, and access a window of possibility that was not otherwise available. Eighth grade students engage in a series of workshops and to prepare them for the transition to high school. Learn more about our four progressive program models.

Spark Labs

Seventh graders participate in Spark Labs, on-site workshops hosted by local companies and organizations.

Students develop a broader understanding of industries and careers of all shapes and sizes by visiting different offices and working with new people throughout the fall semester.

Employee volunteers guide students through structured group activities that build skills and help students understand how their interests, abilities, and skills relate to workplaces and positions.

Spark Mentorships

Spark students are paired with a mentor based on mutual interests. Students visit their mentor’s workplace once a week for 10-13 weeks.

Spark Mentors guide structured, two-hour sessions filled with social-emotional learning activities with the end goal of creating a Spark Project.

Mentorships culminate in Share Your Spark, an event where students and mentors present their projects-anything from working electrical circuits to marketing plans-to their colleagues, friends, families, and the community.

Share Your Spark

Spark students and mentors come together with community members to celebrate the culmination of the school year by showcasing their projects at Spark’s annual event.

High School Transition

Preparing students for the critical transition to high school is at the core of Spark’s work.

Research on school choice and school improvement shows high school selection is often the student’s responsibility and that those students who are supported in the selection and application process are more likely to seek a high school that is a good fit.

Using workshops and an interactive, online tool, Spark guides 8th grade students and their families through the high school selection process to help them find the right path to success in 9th grade and beyond.

 

Get involved

Contact: sclark@philaedfund.org

What We Offer

Students: Spark brings students into nearby workplaces to learn about jobs – up close and personal. This is a chance to meet professionals from all types of fields and spend an afternoon every week with a mentor who can answer your questions, talk to you about your goals, and help you achieve them. You’ll build the skills you need to be successful along the way.

Companies: Spark is a one-stop shop for community service, employee engagement, and corporate philanthropy – and that stop happens right outside your office doors. We transport students directly to your workplace for two-hour Spark Lab or Spark Mentorship sessions, providing your volunteers with a consistent and reliable way to engage with your community. Spark’s trained and professional team supports your employees as they inspire the next generation of young talent to pursue careers they never dreamed possible.


Who We Serve

Students in district and charter high schools in Philadelphia

Mentor and Mentee at Share Your Spark