Become a Spark Champion

December 28, 2010

What is a spark?  According to the creators of the Sparks concept at Search Institute, “A spark is something that gives your life purpose. It’s an interest, a passion, or a gift.”  Watch this video to hear from young people about why sparks are important.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP89iBasyCE&feature=player_embedded]

Research shows that when young people know their spark and have adults who support it, they are more likely to have a sense of purpose, be socially competent and physically healthy, volunteer to help others, and have better attendance and higher grades in school.  They are also less likely to  experience depression and engage in acts of violence toward others.

Research also shows that only 62% of teenagers can clearly name their own spark, and only 37% of teenagers can identify adults who know and support their spark. Mentors can play an important role in increasing these numbers.  All young people should have an adult who sees their spark, affirms that spark and helps them explore their spark.

Because mentors are in such a unique position to support spark development, the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota and Search Institute have collaborated to create new tools and training to teach mentors how to become spark champions.  Learn more about scheduling an on-site, customized training for your program’s mentors here, or access free, downloadable resources for mentors here.

Post author Mindy Twetten is the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota’s Marketing & Communications Coordinator.