July 12, 2017  /   Philadelphia

Uniting Communities and Helping Students Pursue What’s Possible

Spark’s Career Exploration and Self-Discovery Program supports middle school teachers and administrators by bringing students out of the classroom for real-world workplace experiences. Strategic collaboration between Henry C. Lea Elementary School and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) helped Spark serve an entire class of 7th graders in West Philadelphia. With financial support and volunteer mentors from Penn, Spark was poised to help more students, like Lea student Fode, explore possibilities. “Spark will teach you anything you want to know!” said Fode when describing the Spark Mentorship experience.  Fode’s mother also noticed a transformation in her son. She recalls, “He was an honor roll student and his grades slipped. With Spark, his grades have improved and he’s almost back to honor roll.” When communities come together to help middle school students understand, experience and pursue what’s possible, there’s a tangible difference in the classroom too. Ms. Riemann, at the time an educator at Henry C. Lea School, noted a more immediate benefit of Spark Mentorships, “I saw so many ‘sparked’ students! It changed their mindset and their mentors made such a difference… Students were able to get into better high schools.”

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