EVENT DATE: Sep 19, 2015
Spark re-engages under-served 7th and 8th grade students, keeping them on track and ready for success in high school and beyond through workplace-based apprenticeships. These apprenticeships combine mentoring, project-based learning, skill building and career exploration. As a mentor I am working to help middle school students in East L.A. build the social capital and skills they need to be successful. These apprenticeships open up these young minds to a world they would likely never know existed. For example, I showed two 8th graders that their hobby of playing video games could lead to a legitimate career path. Together we researched the video game industry, understanding the history, future trends and what it takes to develop a successful game. Most importantly, these students came away with an understanding of the various careers one can have in the industry, what it takes to gain employment and therefore a specific goal to have in mind to help drive them to work hard in order to graduate high school and college. I have seen first hand that Spark works. By the end of the apprenticeship there was a noticeable difference in my students' ability to conduct research, analyze information, write and present their findings to a group of their peers and adults. Supported by more than 80 hours of powerful, hands-on programming, 89% of Spark students enter ninth grade on track to graduate high school on time, compared to 70% of their peers. Spark is truly making a difference in young peoples' lives. To learn more please visit www.sparkprogram.org.