Building Leaders Outside the Workplace

August 18, 2016

Earlier this month, we introduced our charity of the month. An organization that pairs students from underserved communities with inspiring members, Spark does so during a valuable and significant age in their lives.

We got the brief summary on a chapter in their book: how Spark influenced middle schoolers Michael, Semaj, and Charles as they would begin to form their identities and start learning about the world around them.

From the North Lawndale community, 7th graders Michael, Semaj, and Charles were no strangers to financial struggle and gun violence, having already lost relatives due to violence in Chicago. Spark therefore had them placed in LinkedIn, where their passions would be fostered and encouraged with mentors Steven, Kevin, and Corey.

Together, they worked to enrich their relationships, foster social and emotional learning skills and explore career opportunities. Moreover, the three gained skills they would take outside of the workplace, further allowing them to give back to their city.

Compelled to stop gun violence in their neighborhoods, Michael, Semaj, and Charles raised awareness on the issue by managing a fundraising campaign and engaging members within their Spark network to educate and involve others—successfully raising over $11,000 and becoming young leaders in their community. The three later participated in a peace march alongside Noah’s Arc Foundation, and in turn donated funds to local organizations they felt passionate about. 

This Fall season, Michael, Semaj, and Charles will enter high school with concrete ways of making a difference and with the confidence in acting as a role model to their friends, family, and peers. Thanks to Spark and participating companies, middle school students—not only in Chicago but across the nation—are able to find passion to pursue a dream and a career!




Cheers to Michael, Semaj, and Charles, and their mentors Steven, Kevin, and Corey! Show your support for pairs alike, Spark, and Chicago Public Schools this August. Send a bouquet today!