What did you want to be when you were 13 years old?
When I was 13, I wanted to be a MTV VJ. I loved music and the idea of meeting all the musicians that I idolized seemed like the perfect job. Although I didn’t end up working in music or television, it was a career that inspired me.
This past Spring, I mentored a 13 year old girl that wanted to be a wedding planner. We met every week for two hours to talk about a career in wedding planning that included day to day operations, details of my upcoming weddings, and answering lots of questions. It was truly an amazing experience and I am very glad that I built the time into my busy schedule to give back.
Would you want to give back? Let me tell you about the program. It’s a 10 week commitment that will change someone’s life. I felt that this volunteer experience was much more inspiring than simply donating money.
Spark is a national nonprofit organization that provides youth mentorship here in Chicago. Through Spark, middle school students from under-served communities have the opportunity to participate in hands-on workplace-based apprenticeships in a field of their interest, where they can connect their aspirations for their future with the importance of education.
Spark students are interested in a wide range of careers from event planning, to photography, to running their own business, to culinary arts, to law, to architecture – you name it! More information on Spark program, partner schools, and supporters can be found on their website. You can also hear from past Spark students and mentors in this video.
All over Chicago, students are struggling to connect why what they are learning in school is relevant for their futures. In many communities of Chicago, this can lead to a high school dropout rate of nearly 50%. Spark works to combat this by providing apprenticeships to students to motivate them to stay on track before they make these life-changing decisions. After talking with each student about their dreams, goals, and interests, Spark works to match them with mentors who have the knowledge and skills students need to be successful in high school and beyond. Would you consider providing that Spark?