...Is the name of the gala to benefit the SPARK center each fall. Although I've never bid on an item at the annual event, I toured SPARK for the first time this Friday and was overwhelmingly impressed.
SPARK stands for "Supporting Parents And Resilient Kids." The program began over a decade ago, first as respite for parents and their newborns who had HIV/AIDS. As fewer and fewer children are born with AIDS in the area, and we learn more and more about caring and helping people with the virus, the mission of SPARK has evolved. A daycare was added for children with special medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, failure to thrive, and those who are visually impaired or have been witnessed to violence or survivors of abuse. An after school program with group therapy and life skill program to supports the kids who originally found a home at SPARK and a "TICKET to success" internship program is also a core of today's mission.
Learning about young adults and rebellious teens being informed of their status; learning about the importance of their medication; having this community commends the visionaries, clinicians, therapists and staff that are fundamental to this work.
I heard the history, saw the patients, the infants and the students who all made me wish I had 1mm to hand out to these kids and their families. Working towards running 26 miles is a challenge but certainly a humbling experience knowing that running Boston is a choice. Of course, I feel very good about this choice after seeing this program last week.