On October 22, Spark LA’s “Spark A Dream” Gala will be held at Tiato, an elegant, indoor-outdoor restaurant and event venue in the heart of Santa Monica. The evening, hosted by award-winning actress and philanthropist Judy Reyes, recognizes Clinton Middle School Principal, Brenda Pensamiento, honored for her notable contributions to Spark LA students. Spark LA, a division of the national non-profit youth mentoring organization pairs 350 underserved middle school students with the city’s top companies including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Entravision, Google, Union Bank, Capital Group and Cornerstone OnDemand. The pioneering 10-week. bi-annual apprenticeships combine mentoring with project-based learning, skill building and career exploration at a pivotal point in the student’s development. This fall marks their largest-ever apprenticeship program to date.
“Middle school is a pivotal point in the emotional, social and cognitive development of our youth, where 60% of students become chronically disengaged, but Spark’s apprenticeships have a proven track record with re-engaging students through real-world learning as demonstrated by our 92% graduation rate,” says Spark Vice President of the CA Regions, Yoon Choi. “Spark helps students make the critical connection between staying in school and what is possible once they graduate and enter the workplace. Building apps, writing business plans, or editing films with their mentors motivates them to continue their studies with a strong sense of direction and purpose.”
Known for her roles in Scrubs and Devious Maids, Judy Reyes will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The evening’s entertainment includes the Harvard-Westlake Jazz Explorers, a Photo booth to “celebrate the mentor in your life,” magicians as well as a silent auction with items that include a racket signed by tennis legend Roger Federer, a rare nude patent “Wallet on Chains” Chanel bag and a VIP experience at LA’s iconic Magic Castle.
Individuals and organizations are invited to purchase tickets at: www.SparkADreamLA.org
Sponsors for the event include The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, HBO, Sony, Hulu, Deloitte, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Cornerstone OnDemand, Walter P Moore, Amgen, BTIG, Capital Group, Abramson Teiger, Howard CDM, Hosa Technology, Woods & Dangaran, and United Airlines.
Notable guests attending include Edy Ganem (Devious Maids), Milena Govich (Law & Order), Jordan Belfi (Entourage), Lisa Vidal (Being Mary Jane), Angela Nissel (Writer Scrubs, etc.) and Gerald Fontejon, Keith Powell (30 Rock), Perry Wallack (Co-Founder and CFO of Cornerstone OnDemand), Nichol Whiteman (Executive Director at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation).
Since 2010, Spark LA has grown exponentially to serve nearly 1,000 students at six underserved schools across Los Angeles. Now celebrating its 5th anniversary, Spark LA welcomes more participants this year than ever before. The bi-annual program matches students and mentors in career fields aligned with their interests, with the goal of re-engaging students in their education and inspiring them to graduate from high school. Students are bused to workplaces for weekly one-on-one sessions where they gain exposure to real corporate environments. The hundreds of business executives and professionals taking part in the program are given a unique opportunity to experience a new level of fulfillment in the workplace.