In the last 12 months we have celebrated two additional high school graduations, 3 college enrollments, and numerous acquisitions of 1st time jobs. We have seen:

  • improved school attendance
  • improved grades
  • active community service
  • two students trained as Peer to Peer Mentors and
  • the student formation of a Junior Optimists' Service Club

Our students improved attendance from less than 40% to over 90%. Grades that averaged D- rose to a B+ average. Our students total community service levels for the last 12 months exceed 1500 hours.

We finish the year with 42 students active in the programming. That programming includes:

  • academic work (including our screened tutors);
  • field trips and presenters that include writers, artists, community professionals and leaders;
  • life skills that include cooking, gardening, child care, sewing, knitting, personal safety, family budgeting; community service across all generations (daycare centers to libraries to nursing homes); and
  • career planning and exploration that includes college tours and job shadowing

As we work with students, mentoring them in personally customized programming: 1) we create a circle of support and build trust; 2) we are doing exploration; 3) we celebrate successes, experiences and skills learned; and finally, 4) we Ignite a Spark as we help them discover their passion. This work is done with 100% volunteers that are interviewed, screened, background checked and trained. Mentors work in group settings, complete 3 trainings, and then are able to mentor one on one. Ongoing training and workshops are offered to mentors. At the beginning of the past year 3 mentors were certified, in the past year 12 additional mentors have been trained and 3 more are set to be certified.

Early in 2015, thanks to a donor, we were joined by Faith, a pure breed Teddy Bear that has been screened, trained and serves as a Certified Therapy Dog (certified and insured by Paws for Friendship-registered with AKC). Also added in 2015 was a monthly cable TV show, INGNITE THE SPARK supporting the benefits of mentoring and has included guests such as Dr. Sheehan of SASD, Detective Remington of Sheboygan PD, Dr. Skurewski-Servant of UW Sheboygan, Nikki Kiss of Inspire Sheboygan County (of which we are an affiliate), Tim Kaker of Big Brother/Sisters and others.

As we address issues that include academic goals, mental and physical challenges/abuse, financial and family life challenges we collaborate with judicial departments, school administration, health care professionals, community leaders and families. We recognize our work as Igniting a Spark in our students and we are pleased to now recognize our work as creating future change makers as several students have taken active roles in the work we do.

For more detailed information, feel free to contact me.

Char Pachniak, CEO & Founder