A groups of young ladies along with many others are a part of SPARKS, a student led organization at Arizona State University that promotes access to higher education throughout many of Arizona communities. This group visited Kofa High School in Yuma and told news 11 what SPARKS means.
“SPARKS is a student led organization through Arizona State University, it stands for Students Providing Awareness Resources and Knowledge to Start College. This is the first time that we have been able to branch out of the Phoenix community and we’ve been embraced and welcomed by the Yuma community, to be able to share our knowledge with the students out here” says SPARKS member Janet Grom.
SPARKS member Paige Stockes adds, “What we do as a panel and a team is we talk to students about questions they might have, we debunk myths and we just answer their questions and help them in any way that we can.”
Members like Janet and Paige inspire over 8,000 K thru 12 students per year, to pursue and succeed in higher education by sharing their personal stories.
“I’m able to show others that you know, I’m Hispanic, so a lot of us have that stereotype that we can’t make it. That we drop out of school, we have a lot of stereotypes, and I can show them that if I can do it…other Hispanics can do it” says SPARKS member Syndi Flores.
But it’s not just all school talk; these ladies also serve as role models to Arizona’s youth.
Vice president of the Executive Board of Sparks Carmen Chavez talks about her experience, adding,” and really talk to them based on a personal experience because I know for a lot of people it’s hard for them to open up and talk about what they went through in their lives. So for me it’s really important to really get people to open up and talk about their experiences and share with them because a lot of people, especially k thru twelve students, can really learn from them and really see that it’s possible to achieve higher education.”
Giving back to the community, gaining leadership skills, and inspiring thousands to achieve their goals is truly a fulfilling purpose.
Paige Stockes concludes,” What I love most about being a part of SPARKS is its really making a difference. I’ve gotten thank you notes from students who I’ve helped and really seeing their faces light up knowing that its possible, college is possible and you don’t need to live in a nicer area, or whatever the case is, it’s available for anyone and I want to make sure that they are aware that they can dream big and achieve great things in their lives.”