Submitted by Aleata Harty-Blank
Kimberley’s Spark Youth Centre gives all youth the opportunity to engage in inclusive, fulfilling activities under the guidance of mentors who believe in them and their diverse talents. Spark Youth works tirelessly to ensure that all youth have a safe place to spend time with friends and mentors while fostering new skills and growth.
Spark’s most recent endeavor is a focus on entrepreneurship. The Centre accessed a grant from the Kimberley and District Community Foundation which has allowed it to purchase materials and sewing machines to begin a sewing venture. Youth will sew projects, while learning the process of starting a business, project costs, creation, marketing and sales to help build the next generation of innovators and changemakers. The youth-created projects will be available for sale during the Kimberley Farmer’s Market in the spring.
Spark Youth provides youth a sense of ownership, responsibility and the opportunity to interact with positive mentors in the community. Spark Youth Executive Director of 15 years, Bev Middlebrook, is passionately dedicated to ensuring youth have a safe place where they can learn, grow and feel valued within the community. Giving youth this sense of community is key to their development and to their journey in becoming contributing members of the community moving forward. The focus on youth advocacy and real-world skill building is not only impressive, but incredibly necessary. Youth who feel empowered, go on to be active and participating citizens and the Spark Youth Centre is providing that opportunity to the future of Kimberley. In speaking with a youth who has been attending for the past three years, she described the centre as a home away from home, a place that let’s her be her unique self and a place that supports her dreams. Every youth deserves that.
The Kimberley and District Community Foundation has witnessed the beginning stages of the entrepreneurial endeavors taken by the youth at Spark Youth and looks forward to seeing the final products on sale this spring from the creative and talented youth of the Spark Youth Centre.