By: Krista Kay, Alpha Pi Chapter ’02, Director of Leadership Advancement
Two claps for Team Spark! *clap* *clap*
Two claps for Team Spirit! *clap* *clap*
With this being the first year that the Alternative Break Project was in two locations simultaneously, our Brothers not only rose to the challenge, but left an impression that will last a lifetime.
I had the pleasure of joining Team Spark in Newark, NJ for an incredible week. During the planning phase, I had learned that Spark Academy shared a building with George Washington Carver, but it wasn’t until we were on site that I truly understood what that truly meant. The educational system in New Jersey is undergoing a challenging time, with balancing the inclusion of many charter schools and public school consolidation. The charter schools like Spark Academy are viewed with a certain stigma because they have access to different resources and flexibility to do more than the public schools. Although the cohabitation at George Washington Carver is experimental, the need for something unifying was absolutely necessary because everyone wanted the same for their students.
We did more than put paint on the wall to beautify the play area, we gave something to the community. People passing by commented on how needed this was. Faculty and students from George Washington Carver commented on how wonderful and beautiful it was. Even one Spark scholar remarked how it inspired him to want to change the world.
In addition to our time on the project, we spent two wonderful days in the classroom learning with the students, talking about college, and becoming a part of the Spark community. I look forward to hearing the success stories of the kindergarten, first, and second graders in the years to come and wish the second graders the best of luck as they kick the pass this week!
There was no better way to conclude the week than to visit the city where the “bright lights will inspire you” and to meet with fellow Brothers from NYMAAC. Seeing the sights and sounds of the Big Apple was a great way to unwind after successfully completing the project.
The overall experience of Alternative Break Project left Brothers with plenty to take back home and share with their chapters.
I’m so proud of all the Brothers and Staff who dedicated their time, energy, and effort to both projects. You are what truly makes these projects come to life.
I could go on and on about how amazing working on the project, spending time in the classroom with the scholars and getting to know your fellow Brothers truly is. I hope that you’ll join us in 2013 for a new adventure to find out firsthand!