Spark Points

THE SPARK POINT BLOG

Storyteller, Educator and Oyé Palaver Hut Founder Vera Oyé Yaa-Ann Teaches African Culture and the Importance of Good Nutrition

By Spark Point / November 18, 2020

Since moving the the U.S. in 1993, Vera has been committed to telling her story, and supporting countless families in the process

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One House, One School, One Mission

By Spark Point / November 11, 2020

Shannon Hodge’s Passion for Education Reform Impacts Thousands of Students When she was in first grade, Shannon moved into a new neighborhood and her interest in education was sparked. Shannon’s parents chose the house because it fed into a stronger high school than another house they had considered.  With that choice, they knew Shannon would…

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Mary Brown Creates a Safe Space Where Her “Family” Learns Through Artistic Expression

By Spark Point / November 5, 2020

For 24 years, Mary has led the charge at Life Pieces To Masterpieces, an organization for African American boys in Wards 7 and 8 For many, career paths are linear — they follow a seemingly set course starting from college and moving into a career. That, though, wasn’t the case for Mary Brown. After graduating…

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Entrepreneur and Change Agent Karen Alston Uses the Power of Storytelling to Change Lives

By Spark Point / October 28, 2020

She’s helping thousands find their voices, as a business leader and nonprofit board member Karen Alson never envisioned working in the nonprofit arena. A graduate of Howard University, Karen dove into the business world post-graduation, working at global enterprises such as JP Morgan, MBNA Bank and AOL. But, years into her corporate rise, Karen took…

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Marilyn Lacy

Marilyn Lacy Turned Trauma into Powerful Advocacy and Ministry

By Spark Point / October 21, 2020

Through her church- and community-based work, Marilyn has helped countless women and girls impacted by sexual abuse  Trauma was a central theme to Marilyn Lacy’s early years. Sexually abused by her stepfather, Marilyn found herself in “a world of bad choices and wrong decisions,” including a long-term relationship with another abuser while in her teens. …

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Karen Venable-Croft’s Innovative Charter School Elevates the Next Generation of Innovators & Entrepreneurs

By Spark Point / October 14, 2020

This passionate educator took a leap of faith and created a truly unique learning environment for young women  For more than two decades, math teacher Karen Venable-Croft was focused on bringing big ideas and unique paths to learning to her students. Then, two years ago, she and her partner took the ultimate leap, founding Girls…

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Valerie Rochester

Valerie Rochester’s Passion for Public Health Helps Thousands Gain Understanding and Support

By Spark Point / October 7, 2020

AIDS United’s VP shares her personal journey from a decades-long career in public health Indiana native Valerie L. Rochester has always been committed to service. “I actually had a very circuitous route to get to where I am today,” she says. “I had no idea I’d wind up in the nonprofit world because that was…

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Koube Ngaaje

For Koube Ngaaje, helping others is in her DNA

By Spark Point / September 30, 2020

Battling double pandemics—COVID-19 and the resulting increase in domestic violence—has tested the mettle of this Executive Director and the organization she leads. Since taking the reins of District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) in 2017—10 years after the ground-breaking organization launched—35-year-old Executive Director Koube Ngaaje has doubled the organization’s capacity to shelter victims of domestic…

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Academy of Hope’s Joy Bentley Phillips Drives Meaningful Change Through Adult Education

By Spark Point / September 24, 2020

This dynamic young executive has built an unparalleled fundraising program from the ground up  Trying to keep our families and friends safe and healthy while balancing our personal and professional lives—in 2020, this became an almost impossible task for many. Despite these obstacles, though, Joy Bentley Phillips, Chief Advancement Officer at the Academy of Hope…

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What is Spark-Point doing to be an Anti-Racist Ally

By Spark Point / September 21, 2020

This year has pushed economic and social disparities experienced by communities of color to the center of the public square. Not only has the pandemic made painfully evident the intersections of race and class, but the brutal murder of Black people at the hands of the police has reminded us of the foundation of white…

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