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September 17, 2010

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September 17, 2010

My friend Mike told me about the Sparks program, and we got all excited in our animation studio about helping out. before we took in Nick, the people from Sparks came by to look at the place. We were all impressed by how nice and excited they were. When Nick came, he turned out to an incredibly funny and interested little boy. The whole process was so much fun!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my way of relating to younger artists in general, my way of relating to any person I meet and it's giving an incredible appreciation for the people that make these programs possible

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 15, 2010

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September 15, 2010

I can't say enough great things about my experience with Spark or the work that they do to support at-risk students. Although I don't work in the video game industry, the flexibility of the program allowed me to structure an apprenticeship that analyzed the industry from a business perspective. My student and I learned together and grew from our experiences over the 10 week program, throughout which the Spark staff provided outstanding support. I really think that the experience helped my student to gain confidence that carried over to school.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Discovery Night presentations. The students were proud of what they had learned and were eager to share with their classmates. A number of the students were on their second or third Spark apprenticeship.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the flexibility and finite time commitment. If you're thinking about becoming an Apprentice Teacher but are unsure about (a) your job or (b) your schedule, just make the 10 week commitment. Spark will help you with the rest. You'll be glad you did it.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

September 29, 2009

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September 29, 2009

I have two distinct experiences, one with the students, the other with the staff. A) Students: at the conclusion of the apprenticeship, there is Discovery Night. This is where the students present their work, whether it be a comedy routine or a portfolio of photographs. After watching the kids make their presentations, it is hard to envision any one of them as being an "at risk" kid. They've worked hard to master their subject matter and they show all the gratefulness and pride that you'd expect of any student. B) Staff: these people are as committed to their mission as any group of people I have ever been around. They work tirelessly, and with passion, to enhance the lives of their students

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand the program to more children deemed to be "at risk." I would also like to see the program expanded to include any young student who desires an out-of-school positive experience that allows them to focus on an area that they have great interest in.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 29, 2009

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September 29, 2009

Spark is an excellent professionally run organization that provides a very valuable and necessary service to our community. The student participants in the program are provided with an experience that will help them throughout their lives and in all aspects of their academic, personal and professional life. I don't know of any other organization which provides such a constructive and productive environment for the students to learn and build confidence.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

attending the "discovery night" at the end of the program where each apprentice presents something that they learned during their apprenticeship. The apprentices' presentations were professional. The students were confident and entertaining.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 15, 2009

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September 15, 2009

Spark contacted me out of the blue back in July of 2009. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of their offer. So, like any business person would do, I asked what I would receive in return for volunteering my time. What they offered on the table was some advertising and potential networking opportunities. Initially, I wasn't too impressed with their counter offer but figured it wouldn't hurt to try give it a shot. Orientation rolled around and pretty soon I was mentoring and teaching a junior high student on how to run a business. The only time I had ever really worked with youth was at the San Francisco Juvenile Hall because my background was similar to those kids in many ways, so I figured I would be able to relate to them a lot easier. My student from Spark--at first--made me a little nervous because I wasn't quite sure what she expected of me. To my surprise, my student turned out to be very mature for her age and seemed to have been prepped quite well from her mentors at Spark. It was a very eye opening experience because my student actually provided several "uncensored" suggestions towards my business and my business character--it really affirms just how smart kids and people are in general, regardless of their age. The apprenticeship program lasted for a month, though I wish it could have lasted longer, because my student didn't get a chance to really run all aspects of the business. We spent a good amount of time prepping for her discovery night (a mandatory presentation reporting to an audience what they learned from the apprentice program), so that did take away from some of the mentoring and apprenticeship. Though, I did feel the presentation provided a good road-map for the student and myself to follow. It also helped me in deciding which things might be more crucial to teach her. The experience of working w/ my student reminded me of the problems I faced and of what it was like growing up when I was 14, which also made the whole experience it little nostalgic. Another thing I noticed about Spark, was that all of their staff involved exuded this very positive energy. There wasn't any apathy or dissipation from anyone that I met. It was pretty much all about the kids and providing them a great learning experience. In the end, I realized how connected Spark was to the community and I proposed partnering up with them officially. They welcomed the proposition and we were able to strike a deal so that we could both benefit mutually. Till this day, I still keep in close contact with a few members of the Spark staff and I would gladly help their organization in any way possible. This is definitely a program well worth your time and I highly recommend it. Keeping in mind that this is coming from someone who is extremely judgmental :)

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

way in which I can improve my business.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change nothing.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the insight and nostalgia that came with it.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, friendly, outgoing, intelligent, dedicated, cooperative, and sincere.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

possibly change the way public schools are structured in the United States.

Ways to make it better...

I had some interaction with the other apprentice teachers. And also if the program lasted a bit longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

finding good apprentice teachers who are willing to provide a genuine service to the community and the students at Spark.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Spark was a very memorable experience.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

September 7, 2009

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September 7, 2009

Spark is a stellar program! It is very low time-intensive way to strengthen your local community through empowering young people to boldly choose their career goals. The people working with Spark are flexible and positive. The only change I would want would be that I could be young and to have this opportunity!

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More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

How much I have learned about my own career by teaching and also learning about other careers through the experiences of the Spark apprentice presentations.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 31, 2009

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August 31, 2009

I have been repeatedly impressed by Spark's success at engaging middle-school students. The staff is dedicated and creatively designs curriculum, effectively trains Apprentice Teachers, and tackles problems with ingenuity.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

hearing a Spark apprentice explain how the program has motivated him to go to college when he had previously anticipated dropping out of high school.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

energetic, competent, and communicative.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 21, 2009

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August 21, 2009

SPARK provides the only pre vocational experience for the young, at risk students. It gives these students optimism for their future. With so much been said about the downturn in the economy; this program gives hope for the students who are able to attend. I have learned much about the students families and the poverty the kids that I have worked with are going through. SPARK benefits this community and more businesses should adopt a student to experience why going to school can make the dreams they have come true.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Discovery Night when the families come to see the accomplishments their children have made.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The students end the program and I can see how much they have grown and become confident themselves.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Supportive and thankful for our support.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Build the workforce needed for the future.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 11, 2009

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May 11, 2009

This is a fantastic organization! Spark pairs each student with an adult in a position that interests them, and has them work together for about 10 weeks. Through this process, students have the opportunity to explore their interests, get motivated about doing well in school, and become more engaged in their community, . It's also great for the adults since the kids are so full of energy and interested in learning. It's definitely a nice break from the daily grind. :)

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the students it serves. They are so excited to see what they can do when they put their mind to it.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

connecting with others in the community who understand the importance of working together to ensure children have the opportunity to succeed.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate, smart, and caring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve students across the globe.

Ways to make it better...

it was easier to incorporate the apprenticeship into my workplace. I wish there were materials to give employers to help them understand the importance of the organization and benefit it can give them.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 5, 2009

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February 5, 2009

My experience with Spark was amazing! Working with children and cooking is something I have always wanted to do, but didn't know if it was really my niche. Through Spark, not only did I get the chance to help Pilar (my apprentice) realize her dream of becoming a pastry chef, but i also got to realize my own! Making everything from basic Buttercreams to chocolate cakes was a blast and completely worth every second. Also, the staff at Spark was very helpful, and you can tell that they love what they do! Each member that I met over the semester was very knowledgable and excited about the program.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the discovery night. The look of accomplishment on each kids face as they presented their project was priceless.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The personal satisfaction that it gave me!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Fabulous, they were all very helpful and easy to talk to. You can tell that they love what they do!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help more children who need to realize that they have potential.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Sibby's Cupcakery

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

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