GivingPoint’s annual Sparks event took place on Tuesday April 23rd at Naylor Hall in Roswell. The evening was a celebration of Social Innovators Academy students, as well as an opportunity to share gratitude for all the presenters, community, and school partners who made the 2018-2019 school year SIA program a success!

The evening began with time for attendees to mix and mingle and learn more about SIA student projects. We had 104 students complete the full SIA program throughout the 2018-2019 school year, starting with our summer workshops. At the Sparks event we had 25 students or student groups who chose to participate in a poster session, where they were able to share more deeply about their project, cause area, and passion.

After the student project poster showcase and a brief introduction by Amy Gates-Stroud, GivingPoint’s Executive Director, we jumped right into a selection of student presentation.

First we heard from Kayley Beard, from the North Fulton SIA cohort, and Lauren Nash, a 2017-2018 SIA alum, both seniors at Alpharetta High School. Last year Lauren started Project Care, which helps connect high school students with those living in senior care facilities, building intergenerational relationships and connections. This year Kayley and the Project Care team have worked to expand to even more locations, serving more seniors.

Next we heard from Emory Paul, part of the North Fulton SIA cohort, and a sophomore at Walton High School. Emory’s project is called Soul Supplies, and is an organization that brings awareness to the issue of homelessness and provides essential supplies to those in need.

After Emory was Rahul Gudapati, part of the North Fulton SIA cohort, and a freshman at Alpharetta High School. Rahul’s project is called Pencils for a Purpose, and his goal is to collect and distribute supplies to schools that may not have access to them. The current target is a school in India.

Lastly we heard from Dhir DeRay and Owen Setterlind, both freshman at Milton High School who participated in the fall 2018 program at Milton. Their project is called ActiviTeam, and focuses on providing children with special needs extracurricular activities in the form of sports, arts, and academics.

Thank you to all of our students who shared their Social Innovators Academy experiences at our Sparks event! We are honored to work with such rockstar students.

Next, we invited Paige Whalen, Associate Program Manager, to present the first-ever GivingPoint Champion Award, which recognizes an individual who gives enthusiastic support to our organization. This year’s recipient, Renee Denney, Milton High School’s TAG Coordinator, is a collaborative partner in championing our mission, ensuring the success of the Social Innovators Academy program and promoting student projects.

We wrapped up presentations with an alumni message, presented by Hannah Jackson, an alum of the 2017-2018 SIA program. Hannah shared about her GivingPoint experience and how it supported and shaped her project, Because I Am A Girl.  This is an afterschool enrichment program at Idlewood Elementary in Clarkston, GA, and works with refugee girls who have been in the United States for less than 4 years.

Lastly, Amy Gates-Stroud returned to give the closing remarks and quick review of all the that GivingPoint has accomplished over the 2018-2019 school year. For a more thorough review, check out our annual report HERE.

We could not have hosted this amazing event without the support of our sponsors. The following contributed either financially or with goods or services, and we are incredibly grateful: Beyond the Resource, Gracious Plenty, Herbert Legal Group, Milton PTO, MobileServe, MMHB & Associates, Moses Brown, Naylor Hall, Nevermind Creating, Omar Esposito, and RDH Mechanical Contractors.

Thank you to everyone who attended Sparks 2019! We are already looking forward to the amazing things the 2019-2020 school year will bring!