September 21, 2018  /   Chicago

The Track to Success

Jamari, is an eighth grade student at National Teachers Academy. He joined Spark last year with an interest in developing a project around his favorite sport, track, and his favorite subject, Math, but he did not know where to start or how to turn his love of track into a career.

Jamari was paired with first-time mentor Sandra, a Quality Assurance (QA) Director at CNA, a commercial insurance company that provides a broad range of standard and specialized property and casualty insurance products and services for businesses and professionals in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. While Sandra didn’t have much knowledge of track, the pair bonded over their love of math. She was excited to help Jamari’s ideas come to life. Together they came up with a mechanism to help athletes improve their running speed. Jamari researched what a track athlete needs to succeed: diet, water intake, and form. Sandra showed him how to think differently about track and self-improvement, an idea he hadn’t considered before. He believes his project will not only improve his running skills, but will help others get better too.

During the course of his 13-week mentorship, Jamari developed time management skills, interpersonal communication skills, and patience with the help of his mentor Sandra. Jamari embraced his experience at CNA and had the opportunity to see a future career path in a professional setting while further exploring his interests. From his Spark experience at CNA, Jamari is more prepared for high school and his future career.

Even with the excitement surrounding eighth grade and new classes, he still continues to think about the impact Spark had on him. Jamari hopes to keep in touch with Sandra after Spark and continue to grow his network saying, “I like going to different businesses to see what they do and what they are all about. I’m just happy to learn about them.”

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