End Of The Year Drive Supports Spark Program
The University's annual End of the Year Drive, coordinated by Campus’ Ministries' Center for Service and Social Justice, collects all the items that students would normally discard at the end of the academic year. A team of more than 15 underclassman stayed on campus after finals to collect, sort, and distribute the donations. This year donations were given to area agencies in need such as Friends of the Poor and United Neighborhood Centers, and also sold in a campus rummage sale to support the SPARK mentoring summer program for at-risk youth.
Each summer at Chapman Lake, students from The University of Scranton and Scranton Prep team up to lead the SPARK Program, a free week-long workshop that focuses on building teamwork and self-esteem for local at-risk youths, and is now in its fifth year. The program, developed by Pat Vaccaro and Danny Marx '09, focuses on at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 16. Scranton student volunteers put their Jesuit ideals into action by teaching SPARKers about self-esteem, friendship, generosity and much more. For most of the children, it is the highlight of their summer, and they each leave Chapman Lake with a larger spark than they came with, ready to pass it on to their peers
Meet GeorgeGeorge, a veteran SPARKer, could barely contain his emotions when his peers described him as "funny," "awesome," and "the best person I know," during an exercise on bullying. When George came to SPARK five years ago, his life drastically changed; his small spark has grown into a large, powerful torch consisting of confidence, best friends he calls family, and many memories that will last a lifetime. George has been so empowered by his experience that he plans on applying to The University so that he can go on to lead the retreat as a Scranton student and pass on his torch to at-risk youths in the Scranton Community.