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Spark Change is a service learning and leadership program of Young Americans Center for Financial Education that offers K-8 students the chance to decide how they want to give back to their community and make a difference in the world. So far this year, students have collected $52,808.54 – talk about making an impact!
Over the last 6 weeks, I attended multiple check presentations—the culminating event of the Spark Change program. My experience at one school, McAuliffe International, was particularly inspiring because I realized that the Spark Change program is truly making a difference in Denver metro communities.
When I walked into the school, I noticed over 1,000 excited students gathered in the auditorium. They had been collecting loose change all year and were ready to participate in a day of service. Adult representatives from Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital, Urban Farm, Colorado Puppy Rescue, Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue, Zuma Rescue Ranch, Project Worthmore, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Nation Mill Dog Rescue, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, and Camp Wapiyapi were all patiently waiting on stage.
After the students settled in their seats, the principal, Mr. Kurt Dennis, took the stage and the auditorium grew quiet. Principal Dennis reminded the students about the importance of their day and about the importance of giving. He then invited keynote speaker Kyle Clark from 9news to the stage. Kyle gave a powerful speech. He explained that today, adults blame young people for the bad things that are happening all around us. But for him, the students of McAuliffe International prove that young people are creating the change we need in the world.
As the students took in what Kyle had to say, Spark Change student leaders stood up to introduce the nonprofit representatives. One by one, the student leaders explained why they chose a certain nonprofit and presented a check to support their cause. The representative of each nonprofit showed their appreciation of the grant and explained to the student body how they intended to use the funds.
The presentation ended by the whole student body chanting their “Call to Learning” three times. After each chant, their voices became louder and their excitement grew stronger:
Teacher- “Scholars, Who has got the knowledge?”
Student body- “We do!”
Teacher- “And determination?”
Student body- “We do!”
Teacher- “So who will change the world?”
Student body- “We will!!!”
Teacher- “So let us…”
Student body- “DIG IN AND BEGIN!”
With pure joy on their faces, the students disbursed from the auditorium and headed out to complete their service projects and make a change in their community.
Through the Spark Change program, we hope to see this excitement and determination to spark a change in all communities in Colorado. This is why Young Americans Center for Financial Education is offering a FREE service learning program to all the schools in Colorado. To get your students involved or to find out more about Spark Change, please contact Kelsie Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about McAuliffe’s day of service here.