Articles Tagged with: SPARK
Spark Mentorship Match Day

On February 27th, Ballinger volunteers will be paired with 7th grade students participating in Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit program dedicated to helping middle schoolers achieve successful futures. Through one-on-one mentorships that include 9 weekly sessions at Ballinger, students will develop a project related to their career aspirations. By introducing students to our workplace environment and supporting them in completing a deadline-driven project, Ballinger volunteers are helping equip students with the skills for future success.

The mentorship culminates in Share Your Spark, an event where students and mentors present their projects – anything from working electrical circuits to marketing plans – to their colleagues, friends, families and the community.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month and we’re proud to continue our relationship with Spark in Philadelphia, a non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is a time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark in Philadelphia has created over 800 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013. The organization currently partners with 6 schools in Philadelphia and 18 corporate partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, providing individual mentorships for over 25 students as well as hosting Spark Lab workshops for 20+ students each fall and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger designer Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program. In 2019 the Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Ballinger’s partnership with Spark in their annual Faces of Philanthropy round-up.

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.

Mentoring Matters

Since 2014 Ballinger has mentored local middle school students in partnership with Spark, a national organization dedicated to helping young people understand, experience, and pursue what’s possible for their futures.

Each April, Spark holds a fundraising campaign dubbed “Mentoring Matters.” The goal is for mentors to spread the word about why mentoring matters and why all young people deserve access to the people and places that inspire a successful future.

This year Ballinger volunteer mentors designed creative fundraisers that not only support Spark, but also promote creativity and spur new connections throughout the practice. Staff members and Spark students were invited to submit 5in x 5in “napkin sketches” for a mini-exhibition and silent auction in the studio. Staff gathered for a lunchtime “Chili Showdown” where chefs battled for the first annual Ballinger Chili Showdown trophy, with proceeds going to Spark.

As a practice, we’re proud to provide opportunities for staff members to lend their skills to enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger’s Partnership with Spark Recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal

In recognition of our sustained investment in the work of Spark Philadelphia, Ballinger was selected as one of Philadelphia’s Faces of Philanthropy by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Ballinger Associate Principal Sara Ridenour, AIA, LEED BD+C and Spark Executive Director Deirdre Hake will accept the award at an event on April 11 at the Crystal Tea Room.

Spark is a national non-profit dedicated to helping middle school students achieve successful futures. Spark views the transition from young teens to young adults as an important time to show students what’s possible, especially since middle school is the time in which students risk academic disengagement. Spark Philadelphia has created over 400 transformative mentorships since launching in 2013 as Spark’s first east coast site. Spark Philadelphia currently partners with 4 underserved schools in Philadelphia and 18 company partners, including Ballinger.

Ballinger has supported Spark through donations and volunteerism since 2015, mentoring over 25 students and participating in peer-to-peer fundraising. In 2018 Sara Ridenour joined Spark’s Advisory Board and Ballinger’s Fränc Luu was recognized with Spark’s Veteran Mentor Award for his commitment to the program.

The Faces of Philanthropy award is an endorsement of B::Engaged, Ballinger’s employee-run community service initiative founded in 2015. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective. The group brings together various volunteer efforts throughout the office, and provides a home for staff members interested in enriching the built and social fabric of our community.

Ballinger Sparks Inspiration at Discovery Night

Ballinger designers Margaret Nersten and Fränc Luu participated in Spark Philadelphia’s Discovery Night, an annual event celebrating the results of Spark mentorships.

Spark is a national mentorship program with the mission of inspiring 7th, 8th and 9th graders in underserved communities to succeed in high school and beyond. Each Spark student is paired with a mentor in a career field of interest. Together, the student and mentor develop a project. Discovery Night is a chance for Spark students to present their final projects to their parents, mentors, teachers, and community.

This year’s program, held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, included a keynote address by Philadelphia Councilman Allan Domb and a presentation by Ballinger’s Margaret Nersten, who shared her positive experience with the program.

“Exposing students to a context they’re not familiar with shows them that new opportunities are exciting. I love teaching students what happens when you work hard and focus on the things you love to do,” Margaret said.

Ballinger has partnered with Spark since 2014, inviting students to experience our workplace and work side-by-side with architecture and engineering professionals.

Ballinger Celebrates National Mentoring Month

This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Ballinger is continuing its support of mentorship programs including Spark and Philadelphia’s Charter High School of Architecture and Design (CHAD).

Spark, a national nonprofit, was conceived to re-engage middle school students in their education through workplace-based apprenticeships. Underserved 7th and 8th graders interested in architecture are invited to Ballinger to work with professional architects, designers and engineers. Spark’s parallel in-school curriculum reinforces the link between classrooms and careers while helping students build skills necessary for success in high school and beyond.

Ballinger also partners with CHAD, which was founded in 1999 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA and is the first charter high school for architecture and design in the US. The school’s innovative program integrates the design process with a strong liberal arts education.

This month Ballinger recognizes the employees who dedicate their time to mentorship programs, including:

Gurveer Bhuta
Ryan Debski
Charlotte DiGiorgio
Kamille Ditcher
Rayma Garcia
Jeff Harper
Helen Joo
Cory Klawunn
David Lee
Stacey Lindbloom
Kate Lyons
Franc Luu
Margaret Nersten
Emily Perotta
Anthony Prousi
Sara Ridenour
Katie Seftas
Jake Shoemaker
Terry Steelman
Lindsey Walker

Ballinger’s employee-run community engagement group, B::Engaged, leads the mentorship efforts, in addition to organizing short and long term service projects.