GivingTuesday, established in 2012, started as a simple idea: a day to encourage people to do good. Over the last seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
That concept of “doing good” is alive and well across the country, as many non-profits struggle to meet the additional needs of those impacted by COVID-19 and unemployment. This GivingTuesday, Strivven Media, parent company of VirtualJobShadow.com and VJS Junior, is thrilled to support Asheville-based The SPARC Foundation (SPARC), which understands that a career is not just what you do from 9-5 each day. Employment can transform an individual’s life.
As part of its mission, SPARC works to fill gaps in the community to support underserved populations, providing education and other services to help keep individuals out of institutional care. Taking a holistic approach, SPARC focuses on strengthening individuals’ employment skills, home life, and relationships, while empowering the individuals it serves toward independent living.
Jackie Latek, Executive Director for SPARC, says, “A career can provide an individual with purpose, worth and value as they model for their family what it means to be independent and self-actualized. A career is the pathway to being able to afford housing, transportation, healthcare and building one's savings.” Latek points out the path to career success isn’t the same for everyone. “These are things so many people in our country take for granted that have been denied to so many others.”
“Changing Together” is a SPARC Foundation initiative that focuses on employment for individuals who, due to a variety of reasons, have not been able to sustain employment. While living in isolated communities and/or lack of work experience can play a role in career inconsistency, having a criminal background makes it especially difficult to find employment. Yet, according to the data, employment is one of the top factors keeping those with a criminal background from going back into prison. With a 60% recidivism rate in the United States, gainful employment is undoubtedly key to lowering that statistic.
Veronica Edwards, The SPARC Foundation board member puts it best, “This work is so important because it's the population of people that are too often forgotten. Those in and out of institutional care, foster care, struggling with substance, emotional and drug abuse. SPARC seeks to fill those gaps in the community where the underserved often fall through.”
Strivven Media’s GivingTuesday donation will be used to support the “Changing Together” initiative, aiding SPARC’s efforts to fund client’s public transportation needs to job interviews, purchase business attire, and offset legal fees. According to The SPARC Foundation team, overcoming these barriers can result in changing an individual’s life trajectory in a significant way.
You can learn more about The SPARC Foundation at their website.
Pictured above (from L- R) are SPARC Foundation People and Culture Coordinator Leasha Ogle, Executive Director Jackie Latek, Office Manager Nanci Farmer, and Strivven Media's Marketing Director Cheri Hoffman.