The conclusion of the GivingPoint Institute is a bittersweet moment for both the students and the staff.

On one hand, no one is ever sure when the GPI students and GivingPoint staff will all be together in the same room again.

On the other hand, there’s a party to be had! That party is our annual Sparks Student Awards Ceremony!

Now, before we get into the details about what else happened at the Sparks event, check out this great year-in-review video done by Chil Creative, our partner in documenting this year’s GPI workshops for our online module that is coming soon.

This year’s event saw the return of GivingPoint Institute alumni Nitish Sood, Saachi Datta, Brianna Perry, Jabaria Turner, and Max Rubsenstein. While Nitish and Saachi spoke at the event, the other three attended as GPI workshop hosts from earlier this year.

As with every Sparks event, GivingPoint distributes four awards to students based on certain criteria. These awards are as follows: the $750 Great Strides Award; the $1,000 Passion to Action Award; the $2,000 New Kent Capital Award; and the $3,000 Spark Award.

This year’s award selection process was just as tough on the staff as it had been for previous Sparks event, but in the end, there were four well-deserving students (really five) for each award.

India Stevenson won the $750 Great Strides Award for her work with the Global Village Project.

Katie Pleiss was given the $1,000 Passion to Action award for starting Lead to Learn, a mentorship program for young girls.

Faiz Syed and Rahul Suryadevara won the $2,000 New Kent Capital Award for establishing the Walton High School chapter of Working Together for Change. Not only do these two plan to host a 5K that will benefit Atlanta’s homeless later this spring, they were also featured on CBS-46 during Christmas for organizing a clothing drive at Woodruff Park in Downtown Atlanta.

Sandya Vikram won the grand prize, the $3,000 Spark Award, for Splash a Care, a nonprofit committed to reducing the paucity of health care in rural areas. Sandya has applied for 501(c)3 status and hopes to host her first clinic in the near future.

No one left the event emptyhanded, however. After the main awards were given out, every student also received $500 in donations to their projects! GivingPoint sincerely thanks the Bernie Marcus Foundation for making this possible.

> Donate to the GPI students’ projects

This year’s event saw each student receive $500 in donations to their projects! GivingPoint sincerely thanks the Bernie Marcus Foundation for making this possible.

The GivingPoint staff would also like to thank every GPI student and his or her parents for making this program year a great success. A special thanks goes out to our Board of Directors and Chil Creative for their contributions to this year’s GivingPoint Institute programming.

We are now shifting our focus to recruiting for next year’s GPI class. If you think you’ve got what it takes or know someone who does, have them apply here.