In May 2014 we met with Kate Bateman of Youth Upliftment International for a ‘Needs Assessment’ meeting to see what we could do next. Kate told us that she was worried about her most at-risk students during the summer months. Many of the students would have to work all summer and the younger students were going to be left at home unsupervised. Kate was concerned for their safety and their well being. It was her dream to have a summer camp. Only 2 weeks later, Sparkes of Hope had raised 1/2 the money needed to finance the summer camp. Kate decided to name the camp ‘Sparkes of Hope Summer Camp’ and we decided that we simply had to go, so we completed the fundraising.
We held our first Sparkes of Hope Summer Camp in August 2014 at Collège Amelioration Jeunesse, the school run by Youth Upliftment International in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Sparkes of Hope Summer Camp grew exponentially from 2014 until 2018. At our last camp, over 100 students joined us for craft activities, science workshops and extracurricular field trips. Sparkes of Hope believes in creating sustainable change and thus we created a partnership with the Haitian educators to build the camp curriculum, we hired the Haitian mothers to feed our campers, and we compensated our older students who volunteered at camp. Our goal was not only to provide these kids with the summer of a lifetime but also help the teachers and parents provide for their own families through our summer employment program.