Be the Spark FAQ
What is Be The Spark™?
Be the Spark™
is a movement to inspire each other to take action and build a more positive, caring community. Together, we have the power to spark change, to care, to act, to build a community that we’re proud of.
As a rallying point for the movement, The Greater Tacoma Community hosted a sold-out Be the Spark™
event at the Tacoma Dome on May 13, 2011 that drew 15,000 people. Desmond Tutu
—Nobel Peace Prize winner, world-renowned activist for human rights and justice, and one of the most notable figures from the 20th century—came to Tacoma for his last scheduled West Coast public appearance before retirement. Tutu shared a message that inspires and challenges each of us to see our community—and our role in it—differently.
Numerous other notable figures were also involved in the event, including: founder of Free The Children and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Craig Kielburger; Seahawks coach Pete Carroll; and author and philanthropist William Gates, Sr.
The event was put on in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, and numerous other organizations, businesses and area youth.
How Did BE THE SPARK™ Get Started?
The inspiration behind the movement stems from four years of work by The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, local nonprofits, organizations, businesses and youth to address the root causes of youth violence. Through the Community Foundation’s Youth Against Violence Initiative, the group recognized that everyone—including youth—had a role to play in building a community that fosters a sense of hope, respect and optimism. The importance of youth voice, leadership and youth-adult partnerships remains a critical component of the Be the Spark™
What Has Happened With Be the Spark™?
- Support from the community provided over 4,000 scholarship tickets to students from seven school districts and 40 youth-serving organizations to attend the Be the Spark™ event
- Pierce County Library System’s created Be the Spark™ reading lists featured in 18 libraries
- Over 300 youth in three high schools took part in a day-long dialogue led by 104 trained facilitators on youth leadership, youth voice and nonviolence
- 160 teachers attended teacher training sessions on South Africa and Desmond Tutu and brought the curriculum back to their classrooms
- 3,000 copies of a publication featuring reflections from community leaders of faith on how to experience and cultivate a life of people were created and distributed
- Members of the community hosted film forums, book clubs and small-group discussions on themes related to Be the Spark™
- May 13, 2011 was proclaimed Be the Spark™ Day by Governor Chris Gregoire
What is Your Definition of Being a “Spark”?
Be the Spark™
begins with each of us—in our own families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities—asking what we can personally do to make this a better place to live. Be the Spark™ means:
- identifying what cause matters to you and doing something about that
- knowing that your actions, as an individual, impact the larger community
- helping create an environment that allows each of us to live safe, healthy, productive lives
Be the Spark™
- recognizing that it will take all of us to spark change in our community
challenges each of us to do our part in creating a better community. That part is something different to each of us. Ask yourself: What's my spark? What can I do to make my community a better place?
The essence is similar to Mahatma Ghandi’s infamous call: “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
The change needed to create a stronger, safer, more vibrant community begins with each of us taking part and inspiring others to join in. Together, we have the power to spark change, to care, to act, to make this a better place to live.
What Does Being the Spark Look Like?
Many people believe that making positive change in the community requires significant amounts of time or money. Yet there are simple, meaningful steps each of us can take to make a difference.Being the Spark can be:
- Paying attention to small ways you can help others and take action
- Spending an afternoon volunteering your time at a local park
- A business living out their values through partnerships with local nonprofit organizations
Whether it takes five minutes or is an ongoing commitment, the important part is starting in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Why Should I join the be the spark™ movement?
Now, more than ever, our community needs to come together and support each other. We each have the power to spark change and the power to change. It’s our responsibility to each other.