Get Cultured — November 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

SPARK for Change Empowers Youth

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Every 26 seconds a student drops out of school. That is a shocking statistic, and one that can be changed. Last week marked the inaugural S.P.A.R.K. youth empowerment event, which benefited Wishbone.org. Spark not only introduces youth to some of the top entrepreneurs and CEOs in the country, but also provides internships and raises funds for children who want to attend higher education programs but cannot afford them. The evening hosted smart, powerful and remarkable kids (hence, spark), who were able to attend a panel discussion and fashion show.

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The panel discussion featured some outstanding buisness mogels, such as Brooke Ely Danielson, the associate editor of accessories at Glamour Magazine, Beth Bugdaycay, the CEO and co-founder of Rebecca Taylor, Marc Sampogna, the founder and managing director of Canopy Brand Group, Marie Camaya, the senior director of event marketing at Nickelodeon, and Mark French, a founder and partner at Court Grip/Mission Atheletecare. During the panel discussion, each panelist spoke about their career and children in the audience were quick to ask plenty of questions.

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Following the panel was a teen fashion show sponsored by Aeropostale, which highlighted job interview fashion trends, as well as proper work attire. The show was hosted by Chris H, America’s Next Top Model finalist from cycle 20. “I got involved with Spark because I thought it was for a great cause. I immediately jumped on it, once I was given an opportunity. I actually heard about it from a long time grammar school friend who works for them named Aracely Gomez. I am so happy and excited to have been a part of such a great event for a great cause and look forward to working with them in the future,” said Chris.

The evening also featured music, passed hors d’oeuvres and breakout sessions with the panelists. There was also both a silent auction and a raffle, featuring prizes like tickets to Spider Man on Broadway. We spoke with Marc Sampogna, who stated, “SPARK was created with the intention of establishing an engaging platform and environment where young, motivated kids looking to achieve more in their lives can have access to those who have, and give them inspiration and direction on how to do so.” Marc said, “Simply put, we’ve taken a business forum and made it kid-friendly, all while raising awareness and funds to help minimize the achievement gap for inner city children.”

Other notable attendees included Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Sanya Richard-Ross, among others.

To learn more about this amazing initiative, please visit their website.


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