Spark at WBMS
The Spark program inspires our 6th- and 7th-graders to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors at leading STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) companies in the Bay Area. The program also supports their academic journey by providing skill-building projects and resources.
Every Thursday, seventh-graders at Willie Brown L. Middle School load charter buses headed to some of the world’s top companies like Google, Salesforce, and Adobe. At the company, each student pairs with a mentor and together they tackle a project of the student’s choice.
For the first time, Willie Brown Middle School became one of few schools that offers students these mentorships through the Spark Bay Area program. Spark’s mission is to provide life-changing apprenticeships to middle school youth in underserved communities.
“It’s a new school, and we recognize that it's a community where a lot of partners want to get involved to provide support,” said Francis Kevers, managing director at Spark Bay Area. “We see middle school as the most formative years for our students.”
About Spark Bay Area
In 2004, Spark was founded in Redwood City by two educators who saw hands-on mentorships as a simple, yet powerful, tool to help under-resourced youth build the confidence, skills and career awareness needed to thrive in school and, ultimately, in their careers, according to the Spark website.
Since its founding, Spark has grown to four regions nationwide – including the San Francisco Bay Area – and delivers workplace-based mentorships and in-school Spark Classes to more than 1,500 students across more than 25 schools. Currently, Spark Bay Area is serving 290 students from Oakland, San Francisco, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City.
How Does It Work?
Spark matches students with caring mentors who work one-on-one with students to build a connection and develop a hands-on project. Spark students create digital advertisements with mentors at Facebook, design mobile apps with mentors at Google, build business plans with mentors at Salesforce, complete science projects with mentors from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and much more.