SPARK Foundation: Igniting Flames of Change, One Spark at a Time
Building an organization, let alone anything is always going to be a diﬃcult journey. Imagine being a 15-year-old, with a dream so big that when people listened in, they ran in the opposite direction because it scared them.
This for me was a sign.
A sign that I was heading in the right direction because I was chasing a dream of making our world a better place, and that for me did not seem scary. Instead, this was and continues to be fulfilling.
And then the day came were my small spark turned into a flame…
Two friends, Aman and Rochelle, were heading home after a long weekend filled with conferences and workshops held in Vancouver on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We were talking about how together, WE can make a diﬀerence. If WE want our future to look brighter, WE must train the youth of today to be strong leaders and citizens. On that sunny Sunday, the foundation of SPARK Foundation, formally known as Camp We Empower was formed. 5 years of programs, and 10 years of friendship later, they have never looked back.
Fast forward 7 years to today, where alongside support from community members, peers, educators, and my co-founder Aman, we have an empowering Non-Profit called SPARK Foundation.
SPARK Foundation is a youth-led Non-Profit organization in Surrey BC. Our mission is to empower the next generation through our life education programs.
We provide our Mega Series Overnight Camp for students in grades 7 to 12 and facilitate our mini-series workshops, which focus on themes such as leadership and entrepreneurship, innovation in technology, and climate change. Through these programs we can equip, engage, and empower the next generation to build strong morals values and leadership skills.
To date, we have mentored 1200 participants, empowered over 5000 people and awarded 100,000 volunteer hours. We have gotten recognition from the Honourable PM Justin Trudeau, the Royal Family, The United Nations, and have had the opportunity to travel across the world. Places we have travelled to include Ecuador, Kenya, Fiji, Australia, and provinces within Canada! The main goal of these trips being to provide our mini-series workshops and strengthen partnerships in those places. Our team has now grown to 137 volunteers, 12 team members, and a strong board of directors with the sole mission of empowering the next generation.
Last year, the SPARK team and I got accepted into the Venture Connections program, through eCoop at SFU. This was a semester filled with one to one mentorship from awesome leaders such as municipal council members, tech experts and serial entrepreneurs. We also received business guidance, networking events, free communal oﬃce space, and of course, this all came with new friends that understand the language of entrepreneurship.
This semester eCoop has been such an epic experience. The team and I were able to look at our foundational values and morals as well as what really got us here to launch forward. On this note, the eCoop program helped us to discover gaps in our marketing, business model and overall outreach strategy. By discovering these gaps SPARK has been able to stride further ahead.
The eCoop program has also allowed us to learn entrepreneurial skills such as how to create an elevator pitch and seek the right investor. All of these skills were learnt in the most innovative way possible through workshops and networking events. Going forward, we now have a much clearer vision and cannot wait to continue empowering the next generation. What is next for us is empowering 100,000 participants through our programs, delivering feedback to the United Nations on quality education in Canada, and hopefully travelling once again.
What this whole crazy yet fulfilling journey has taught me is to not be afraid to chase that dream. Age does not matter when it comes to making a difference because what might seem scary beyond belief to other people, can be just in reach for you.
Beyond the Blog
For about the eCoop Program, check out this website to learn more