We are a passionate, innovative and collaborative team focused on celebrating students and promoting possibility.
Judy’s personal mission to level the playing field for children and youth has made a
tremendous impact on our communities for the past 30 years. Her extensive experience
in capacity building, innovative program development, and training facilitation have been
In over 20 years in leadership roles in the Big Brothers Big Sisters network, Judy was
instrumental in increasing mentoring capacity from 2600 to 4300 children served. One
of her most notable achievements is collaborating with other leadership team members
to develop, introduce, and grow the Beyond School Walls mentoring program. Since its
inception, Beyond School Walls has become a national model for BBBS for fundraising
and serving more children in a career-focused and impactful way.
Judy is a recognized expert on child safety and mentoring children of prisoners. She
has traveled across the country speaking on child safety and is regularly consulted for
her guidance in these areas. Judy believes strongly in the value of mentoring and has a wealth of knowledge to share on this topic. She facilitates engaging training sessions on it, has appeared on television and radio programs to discuss it, and in 2015, she spearheaded the launch of Mentor Independence Region, an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and peer support to over 135 community-based youth mentoring
organizations throughout Eastern PA.
Nina Adams graduated from Temple University in 2020, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, Political Science, and Italian Studies. During her college career, she worked as a mentor and tutor with the youth of Philadelphia. Those experiences encouraged her to work towards education equality. After completing her degree, Nina wanted to continue her involvement with Philadelphia students and was more than happy to work with the Spark Program. In the coming months, she hopes to aid the Spark Program in their mentorship program and social media endeavors.
McKenzie’s passion for positive youth development and education lead her to Spark. She is a Delaware native and holds a Bachelors of Science in Applied Psychology from New York University. During her time in New York City, McKenzie volunteered with many New York City public schools working with students ranging from Pre-School to High School. McKenzie is excited to bring her past experience into her role as a Spark Fellow and continue to make a positive impact.
Akua Maat recently graduated from Wake Forest University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Latin and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. After college, she wanted to contribute to the fight for education equity and moved to Philadelphia to complete a year of service with City Year Philadelphia. In her role as a tutor and mentor in a 9th grade English class she developed a greater passion for working with students and supporting youth development beyond the classroom. Akua brings this passion and her experience working within Philadelphia public schools to her role as a Program Fellow with Spark.
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