Daley Plaza Announced as Official Location for Spark Chicago's Discovery Day
Hundreds of CPS Middle School Youth and Spark Mentors to Showcase Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at Inaugural Citywide Celebration
CHICAGO, IL, March 15, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Spark today announced its inaugural citywide Discovery Day event will take place on Daley Plaza on June 10, 2016 to celebrate hundreds of Chicago middle school youth who are participating in workplace-based apprenticeships with Spark mentors at companies like Google, KPMG, Tyson Foods, West Monroe Partners, and more. The event will showcase the talents of over 300 students through hands-on projects like making films, creating websites and video games, pitching new businesses, building mobile applications, robots, and more.
Discovery Day is sponsored by leading Chicago companies and is hosted by the Spark Chicago Board of Directors. The event committee includes Charles Calloway of Chapman and Cutler LLP, Jim Evans of Entertainment Cruises, Kyla Kelly of Google, Ashley Lavin of Northern Trust, Robin Lavin of the Osa Foundation, David Leiter of KPMG, Neil Mann of Chapman and Cutler LLP, Kristina Oderinde of KPMG, Gordana Radmilovic of West Monroe Partners, and Marta Stein of McGuireWoods LLP.
Since the launching of the Chicago program in 2011, Spark has served over 1,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) students. Through dynamic apprenticeships, Chicago’s youth are exploring career fields including entrepreneurship, STEM, law, architecture, and more. These workplace experiences empower students to dream big and envision themselves working in some of the nation’s top industries and companies.
“I am working with my Spark mentor Jordan on a project to make Chicago a better city for all of us,” said Armon, Spark student from North Lawndale. “I want to thank the City of Chicago for allowing Discovery Day to take place on Daley Plaza. I hope a lot of people will visit my booth to hear my ideas for our city.”
Discovery Day is the culminating event of a yearlong program in which 7th and 8th graders work with volunteer mentors at the workplace. The event will feature Spark students engaging the entire City of Chicago through interactive displays and presentations showcasing their skills in technology, business, design, and beyond.
In 2004, Spark was founded by two educators who saw early intervention as a tool to help under-resourced youth build the confidence, skills and career awareness to thrive in school and in the workforce. Spark successfully gets students on track in key areas of attendance, behavior, and grades. What’s more, Spark students transition to high school at rates higher than their counterparts. Evidence shows that by combining project-based learning with engaging mentors in the workplace and a 21st century skill-building curriculum, Spark students enter high school engaged, on-track, and ready for success.
“Investing in Spark is a commitment to the future,” said Kathleen St. Louis Caliento, Ph.D., Executive Director of Spark Chicago. “Spark students represent the promise of tomorrow, and with the support of our partners and the Chicago community we are hopeful that we can reach even more students in the years to come.”
Spark’s leading investors in Chicago include CEB, Deloitte, Finnegan Family Foundation, Google, KPMG, Osa Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Pritzker Foundation, Steans Family Foundation, Tyson Foods, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, West Monroe Partners, and Zell Family Foundation. Starcom MediaVest Group is Spark’s media sponsor. Spark is a proud partner of Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, and Department of Family and Support Services.
Spark is grateful for support of the program and the Discovery Day event. Individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations interested in supporting and contributing to Spark and Discovery Day can visit DiscoverSparkChicago.org. Follow Spark on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @SparkProgramCHI and use #DiscoverSpark to follow the Discovery Day excitement.
Spark is a national non-profit organization that provides life-changing apprenticeships to middle school youth in underserved communities in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. We re-engage underserved seventh and eighth grade students in their education, keeping them on track and ready for success in high school and beyond through workplace-based apprenticeships that uniquely combine mentoring, project-based learning, skill building and career exploration.
Spark partners with Chicago Public Schools to serve school communities on the south and west sides of Chicago including Ariel Community Academy, Chavez Multicultural Academic Center, Deneen School of Excellence, Dewey School of Excellence, Frazier International Magnet School, Irvin C. Mollison Elementary School, John Fiske Elementary, John Milton Gregory Elementary School, Legacy Charter School, Namaste Charter School, National Teachers Academy, and Perkins Bass Elementary.
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