Today marks the official launch of Career Sparks, a nonprofit organization aimed at connecting real-world career professionals with K-12 students, who are primarily disadvantaged, in a fun and exciting virtual setting. With Career Sparks children now have the power to explore exciting careers from a traditional classroom setting or at home through distance learning.
Career Sparks was conceived during the beginning stages of social distancing when its board members saw the imperative need for children to have positive human connections, especially in the homes of underprivileged children. Education and Employers, an independent UK-based charity, found in a study titled “Drawing the Future” that less than 1% of children have been provided the opportunity to learn about a career from an actual career professional. This statistic is even more dire during COVID-19, as many children are being neglected, and often placed in front of screens with no interactive responses and little human connectivity.
“Plain and simple, our children need career heroes,“ says Career Sparks President Elaine M. Patel. “They need to know that they can become anything they aspire to. Career Sparks gives students a personal connection within distance learning that spurs exploration and ignites passions.”
In just 40 minutes, students hear from career professionals like astronauts, firemen, CEOs or sports personalities, who share their backgrounds and educational journeys, and talk about the skills, experiences, and training they’ve mastered on the way. Teachers are given grade level resources, including a full lesson plan, packed with creative interactive activities that meet learning standards.
“With 99% of schools on fiber, 46.3 million students digitally connected, and another 2.8 million teachers connected, our path as educators is evolving right in front of us,” says Dr. Christine Montanez, Career Sparks Advisory Board Chair (EducationSuperHighway 2019). “Career Sparks offers a digital solution with a human connection, giving students, families and teachers a better option.“
Founded and led by minority and community-minded women, Career Sparks hopes to fill the absence and inequalities disadvantaged children experience within career education. The debut Live Spark Encounter, which will be the organization’s first virtual meet up, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23rd at 10am (PST) titled “Gaming Giants” featuring Patrick Murphy, art director for Epic Games – Fortnite (Battle Royale) and Graham McNeill, principal narrative writer from Riot Games.
To gain access to these interactive encounters, visit careersparks.org to sign up for membership. Career Sparks offers a variety of flexible membership structures, including plans for individual students, teachers (for classroom implementation) and school-wide programming. All membership plans feature a deep discount for Title 1 schools.