While doing some fundraising training in Philadelphia last week, I was introduced to an incredibly cool program called Spark.
Spark was founded by a 7th grade science teacher who wanted his students to see why school mattered. The premise is really simple: place 7th and 8th grade students in apprenticeships with people in their community. They’ve placed students in apprenticeships with all sorts of professionals: fire fighters, chefs, pilots, artists, and tech folks.
The results speak for themselves
Spark has grown to serve in students in at-risk neighborhoods in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia. And the results have been phenomenal. Despite very high high-school drop out rates with their peers, 98% of Spark alumni stay in school.
Ask someone about slavery, and they’ll typically think about the trade of African natives to Europe and North America a couple hundred years ago.
Tell them that slavery still exists today, and most will scoff. But the reality is pretty ugly. More slaves exist today then were trafficked in the trans-Atlantic slavery that was outlawed in the 1800s.
The UN estimates that there are 27 million people trapped in slavery around the world. The CIA estimates there are 1 million in the USA alone. And the city of Boston is one of the major ports of trafficking in the US. Many organizations of modern day abolitionists exist to rescue people out of trafficking. But when they’re out, the USA has woefully lacking resources for helping them rebuild their lives.