Children need a bright future. They need solid role models. And they need to know that they can aspire no matter their challenges. Career Sparks leadership recognizes that simple exposure to career professionals can have an astounding impact on children's futures.
The Career Sparks Board of Directors is comprised of a powerhouse collection of community-minded, minority women, putting the skills they’ve acquired from being educators, business executives, legal experts, PTA moms, and community advocates — into action where it counts.
Several board members have first-hand experience with the racial and social barriers that come with growing up disadvantaged, including limited access to academic resources and minimum exposure to career role models. At a young age, they learned to RISE ABOVE socio and economic norms, RISE ABOVE labels and stereotypes, and RISE ABOVE low career expectations ingrained even within their self-understanding. It is this determination and empathy that has led them to follow their passion.
Career Sparks was imagined amid the COVID-19 pandemic as board members saw the incredible need for children to be exposed to positive human connections through career professionals. By making these connections, board members knew they could change the trajectory of children’s futures.
So, they organized.
Within months, Career Sparks opened its virtual doors, offering year-round programming for children, giving them the luxury of dreaming, aspiring and exploring. Now, a national 501c3 nonprofit organization, reaching students from across the country --Career Sparks continues its mission of connecting real-world career professionals, including astronauts, CEOs, artists and doctors with students, exposing them to a new tomorrow.
PERSONAL CONNECTIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Research suggests that exposing children to real-world career professionals in an exciting and relatable manner can have resounding effects. A student’s personal connection with a career professional combats gender stereotyping and socio-economic influences, which impact the academic effort students apply, the specific subjects they choose to study and ultimately the jobs they pursue. Early intervention and its frequency can raise a child’s career aspirations and provide a significant impact on education and employment outcomes (Chambers, Kashefpakdel, Rehill, Percy 2018).
A HEART FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS
Children raised in disadvantaged communities are 28% less likely to complete high school and 99% less likely to complete a college degree (Owens 2010). These young lives need positive human connection now more than ever.
Career Sparks was founded to give every child the opportunity to aspire, to dream, to build a better future. It is the heart for these children that Career Spark was imagined and it is why leadership works so hard to make these connections. Special price structures have been put in place to meet the needs of Title 1 Schools so they too can experience career exploration and all its amazing benefits.
THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
PROFESSIONAL MENTORSHIP DISPARITY
A study from Education and Employers revealed that less than 1% of children have heard about a job from a real-world career professional. The study also showed that 60% of disadvantaged children were able to identify career categories but were unable to identify a person they knew working within those professions (Chambers, Kashefpakdel, Rehill, Percy 2018).
Numerous studies have linked socio-economic challenges to poor academic performance and stifled career goals, including a study from Sociology of Education, which found that children raised in economically disadvantaged communities are 28% less likely to complete high school and 99% less likely to complete a college degree (Owens 2010).
GENDER STEREOTYPING INFLUENCES
A study focusing on gender stereotyping tells us that at the early age of 6, gender stereotyping is well established and has immediate effects on children’s interests and how they view specific jobs (Bian, Leslie, Cimpian 2017).