In July of 2014, Golden Key launched SPARK a Change. The mission of SPARK a Change is to impact and improve the lives of at-risk youth (ages 0-17) through literacy, education and real-world preparedness. By 2017, Golden Key aims to raise $40,000, dedicate 400,000 hours of service and impact 400,000 lives in local communities & around the world.
October was our first annual SPARK Month, where GK members were encouraged to participate in service events related to the SPARK a Change goals and mission. The GK chapters did not disappoint! 123 SPARK events were held that led to 3,005 hours of service, $1509.73 raised and more than 2500 lives impacted! Chapters also had the chance to submit applications to win an award for the best service initiatives. The SPARK a Change chapter scholarship application winners will be announced tomorrow (3 December 2014).
Many different types of outstanding service events were held!
Many chapters held reading events by visiting local elementary schools, reading to special needs children and participating in Read For The Record. Chapters that participated in reading events include: California State University, Long Beach; Eastern Kentucky University; The University of Tennessee; Indiana State University; Florida Atlantic University; DePaul University; California State University, Los Angeles; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; University of Wisconsin Oshkosh; and George Mason University.
Many chapters visited afterschool programs to tutor students and make a different in their communities. Chapters include: Georgia State University; University of California, Riverside; University of South Carolina; Simon Fraser University; University of Central Florida; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Indiana State University had a unique and fun idea. They hosted a Halloween Party where they also created vocabulary flash cards for children in need!
Norfolk State University members volunteered at the Berkley Community Center After-School tutoring program. They provided tutoring in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. They also organized a Youth Flag Football Tournament where they played two games of football as well as had informal discussion about experience, leadership, teamwork and academics.
The University of the Western Cape chapter created a “Spring School” that helped 40 students a day in Belhar. The school was from 9am-1pm and it covered tutoring in Math and English/Afrikaans and had sports, leadership training, team building, etc. The school is located in an area with high gang crime and drug use and helped to keep students off the streets during school holidays.
Many chapters got creative and thought of awesome ways to prepare children for their future.
Ashford University chapter members helped students develop their computer skills and learn about how to start and maintain a bank account.
The University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez chapter held an event called Hands ON. The purpose of the activity is to educate at-risk youth by giving hands on experience in a multidisciplinary environment. They had different sections where the students (ages 13-17) could put in practice something related to the different educational offers in our campus: engineering, science, arts, business administration, and agriculture.
Members at Federation University Australia hosted “Uni for a day” where primary school students of difficult backgrounds could see what it was like to go to a university and attend interesting lectures. They even got take home “showbags” with big kid university stuff!
The University of Vermont chapter participated in Dollar Enterprise, one of the largest service-learning entrepreneurship activities in the US, which offers over 100 students to use less than $10 to design, plan, and operate small business ventures on campus for one month. All proceeds donate to charity organizations focusing on animal welfare, youth development, youth education, family wellbeing, community services, and career planning for youth.
Drives & Fundraising Events
Several chapters held book drives including: Eastern Kentucky University; University of Central Florida; The University of Texas-Pan American; and Missouri State University.
Chapters that held school supply drives include: Florida Gulf Coast University and University of Washington.
The Syracuse University chapter had a SPARK A Change School Supply Drive for the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the Ed Smith K-8 School of the Syracuse City Schools District.
Chapters that held bake sales and fundraising events include: University of Windsor; Central Connecticut State University; Georgia Southern University; and The College of New Jersey.
These are just a few of the many amazing and creative SPARK events held!
Golden Key Headquarters got involved in SPARK month as well! The staff at the GK Headquarters office in Atlanta, GA volunteered at Books for Africa, an organization that collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to students of all ages in Africa. We went through bins of collected books and sorted them by age group and school subject.
Golden Key would like to send out a BIG thank you to all of our chapters that participated in SPARK month this October. We can’t wait to see all the additional ways our members SPARK a Change!