Washington D.C. - Spark12, a catalyst program for young entrepreneurs seeking to transform the world, is excited to announce their fellows for its pilot session. Two projects were selected after a multi-step application process from an original pool of 47 applicants.
April Casperson, Director of Internal Operations for Spark12, notes that the team found Kenneth Pruitt's project to be “innovative because it seeks to change a culture of volunteerism that can tend to lean towards charity, rather than authentic engagement with justice issues.” Reflecting on the “Worthy Girls, Worthy Lives” she noted her personal excitement for the project “because it works alongside girls and young teenagers, helping them to think about their identities in a new light. This project helps girls and young women explore different ways of thinking about self-worth and identity as an individual.”
The Spark12 fellows will gather with the Leadership Team and an initial groups of coaches and supporters for an orientation week toward the beginning of January at The United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In addition to developing relationships and beginning the process of resourcing, facilitators and coaches will have opportunity to listen and learn more about the projects from the cohort.
Learning has been an ongoing part of the process for the Spark12 leadership team. Joe Kim, Director of Community Care for Spark12, offered an example, “We learned that we need to do a better job of defining what social justice means and how it requires that we engage communities in the process of our work.”
Additionally the group has wrestled with a challenge familiar to many in ministry. While Spark12 received a wealth of interesting ideas submitted by incredibly passionate people, they needed to make tough decisions based on the program’s capacity to make a real difference and that required both discernment, focus, and a willingness to say no to good ideas for the right reasons.
Spark12 Executive Director, DJ del Rosario is optimistic about the success of the first Spark12 cohort. "I believe these two projects have the potential to move from acts of mercy to social justice as they transform their communities and ultimately have the chance to provide adaptive ministry models as well."