Spark SC's Power-Up Campaign
CAMPAIGN UPDATE: With a little more tone week left of our campaign, our team reached has our goal of $2,400! Thank you so much to our loyal donors for their generosity and support. The campaign will remain open for any additional funding our team will need for our projects.
Spark SC is a student-run organization at the University of Southern California. We work closely with students at Hybrid High School, where our goal is to inspire a culture of innovation, expose these students to their creative potential, and connect makers across diverse communities. Many students of Hybrid High School in Los Angeles come from communities that face significant social problems, such as gang violence, and where as much as 85% of the graduating class qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch.
Nonetheless, every student who has graduated from Hybrid High has been accepted to a 4 year college or university and 81% of them are first-generation college students. Hybrid High's personalized approach to education has helped bring about these students' success. Though these students may have academic success, we feel they still lack similar career opportunities and exposure as those in other communities – thus, we bring to you Project Launch and Power Up.
Project Launch is an effort created by the University of Southern California's student-run hub of entrepreneurship, Spark SC. It is a semester-long program that provides the skills for ambitious, under-resourced high school students in downtown Los Angeles to succeed in today's rapidly growing technology sector. To expand our reach, we have brought back Power Up, a one day all-girls tech and entrepreneur conference for female high school students at Hybrid High. The program will provide them with a foundation in technical and professional skills, hopefully jump-starting and strengthening their interest in technology and entrepreneurship.
With Project Launch and Power Up, we will provide some of the lacking resources (e.g. role models, co-curricular and networking opportunities, and persistent access to technology) that these students are not able to receive elsewhere. This will allow them to have a more equitable footing once they reach college.
- Inspire these brilliant students by exposing them to entrepreneurship and unleash the business person engineer and creativity in all of them.
- Equip them with skills and mindsets that will make them more effective leaders in the industries they pursue.
Funds raised will be allocated between Power Up and Project Launch as needed, but will be for the following categories:
- Logistics and Marketing - Help with transportation costs to bring participants to USC for workshops and for us to provide Power Up/Project Launch t-shirts and stickers.
- Workshop Materials - To cover the materials in our workshops such as 3D printing, software, stationary, etc.
- Food - Power Up and Project Launch occur right after school and to help our students be able to focus all their energy on the material and the program, we want to ensure they have some food in their stomachs
- Long-term Investment - Power Up and Project Launch are dedicated to not only supporting the students while they attend our programs, we are dedicated to supporting them in expanding upon what we taught them inside of the classroom, outside of it. To do this, part of the funds will be used to do things such as to give them access to different online software programs that cost money to download and utilize, domain names to use for their online portfolios, and much more.
Through Power Up and Project Launch, our students will:
- Talk with successful female entrepreneurs and professionals in the Los Angeles area who can inspire them through their stories about how they got to where they are today.
- Attend workshops where they will be introduced to technology and skills utilized in industry.
- Have one-on-one support from USC students experienced with the material they are learning.
- Come out with a newfound sense of confidence and foundation to pursue their interests in tech and business.
- Be paired with an appropriate mentor who is an expert in his/her field (e.g. computer science, business, electrical engineering, design, etc.).
- Attend a workshop once every three weeks, while developing a business idea, to expose students to the hard and soft skills they need to be leaders in their fields.
- Gain access to a curated list of events and experiences in Los Angeles that they are invited to attend, such as pitch competitions, company tours and career fairs in the LA area.
- Showcase their work to their peers, USC students, and industry supporters.
Results and Impact
In the Spring of 2016, we created an application for Hybrid High students, where they had to answer several questions, similar to those on college essays. We selected 12 students, 11 of which are girls. The high quality of the answers really took us by surprise.
Here are some of the stories we heard: We heard about all kinds of stories and interests from our applications:
“A non-academic problem I face is being in a broken home I have to deal with battling parent and switching in two homes most of the time...A solution that can be good for me and other kids is an app that brings us kids dealing with this problem together and bring positivity.”
“Another concept that fascinates me is the nervous system, especially the autonomic nervous system. How the sympathetic NS is triggers their "fight or flight" response and the parasympathetic calms the body down which is more known as ‘ rest and digest’.”
It is clear that these students have amazing potential but may be disadvantaged because of their circumstances. Now, it is our responsibility to uphold the mission and help these students. Given the wealth of resources available at USC and in Los Angeles’ growing industries, we have a responsibility to share these opportunities with our surrounding, under-resourced communities.
While we are proud of the work we have done with Hybrid High School in the past, Power Up and Project Launch are community projects that make deep impact through sustained engagement and lasting relationships with our surrounding community.
For initiatives like Project Launch and Power Up, every donation makes an impact. For example, a gift of $5 will go a long way in helping to pay for a student's lunch at an event; while a gift of $10 will help to pay for a student's transportation between USC and Hybrid High for the semester.
Every gift helps, no matter the size, and we appreciate all the support we get! We hope you're as inspired as we are by the students we are trying to help. Thank you for your support! FIGHT ON!
The University of Southern California is a 501(c)(3) organization, so gifts and donations to USC are considered charitable contributions. Gifts are tax-deductible in accordance with State and Federal law. Donors to USC should contact their tax advisor or tax accountant when inquiring about their individual tax consequences. USC’s federal tax I.D. number is 95-1642394.
Make sure to come back and check out our “Updates” tab for news about our campaign, as well as to see YOUR NAME posted as one of our loyal donors. Our sincerest thanks for your generosity and support.
If you have any questions about this campaign or would like to remain an anonymous donor on our “Updates” page, please contact Jane Ong, Associate Director of Annual Giving, USC Viterbi Advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*For individuals and corporations interested in donating at the $500 and above, you can make your gift though this campaign or you can check out the Sponsorship page on our website and contact us at email@example.com.