By Aundre Williams ’18
Seeking, Prevention, Achievement, Reinforcing and Knowledge otherwise known as SPARK running for over 44 years. Ms. Tatiana Rodriguez, the new SPARK advisor has been redirecting all students that have issues.
According to Ms. Tatiana Rodriguez, “The Spark Program provides students with a safe judgment-free zone in which they openly discuss issues and concerns that youth commonly face.”
During every lunch period some students who are free go to the room of the Spark program, B52A and discuss anything that is on their mind, whether it is good or bad.
“It is where we keep our shared thoughts in this room and nowhere else,” said Ms. Tatiana Rodriguez. The secrecy helps build understanding, relationships, and closure. The optimistic viewpoint reflects on their purpose.
Far back in 1971, the Spark program was founded. According to Ms. Tatiana, it was first designed to solve and prevent drug conflicts that were faced in public high schools. It then later got bigger when the organization went from solving drug conflicts to solving psychological conflicts. When students communicate, work together and listen to themselves, they try to solve and navigate the problem into a solution.
Spark organizes their service team in three groups of specialists. One is the Prevention Specialist. According to the brochure, “The Prevention Specialist provides substance abuse workshops, identifies and refers students “at risk” engage in short term supportive counseling and organize educational events. They are a great resource of information for the school and community.”
The Intervention Specialist organizes development groups and lead discussion with students who may need their services.
Lastly, there is the Peer Facilitator. The Peer Facilitator trains students for peer helping, peer mediation, and peer leadership responsibilities.
The Spark program has changed young students’ lives with impactful peer empathy sessions. It has help students communicate, connect, grow and solve issues. Spark gives a safe environment for students to express thoughts.