Thanks to DLD, I learned that I can stand on my own feet and can accomplish things on my own.
Sparks Program: Learning by doing
Launched in 2009, TWI’s flagship Sparks program is a unique and innovative eight-month experiential learning program that follows the academic calendar.
While participants do not receive course credit, they grow in work and life experience.
Sparks participants typically have overcome formidable economic, social and cultural barriers to attend university. They are generally from small towns and the first in their families to achieve higher education.
Now open to women in a growing number of cities in Turkey, participants develop career and leadership skills through active engagement in addressing a social need. During the eight-month program, participants work in teams to identify, plan, and implement real-world community social change projects.
- Sparks Program Objectives
- The Sparks Leadership Model
- How Sparks is Implemented
- The value of Sparks to the women, their communities, and world
The goals for Sparks participants include:
• Increasing sensitivity toward the well-being of others
• Making a commitment to community engagement through social change
• Strengthening self-esteem and confidence
• Acquiring life, career, and leadership skills
• Identifying, planning, and implementing projects that are repeatable, sustainable, and that achieve measurable results of social value
• Enriching personal perspective about what it means to be a woman in contemporary life
• Developing a deeper awareness of oneself
Sparks employs a dynamic collaborative “learning-by-doing” model to achieve leadership skills while simultaneously developing an awareness of social responsibility. Features of the program include:
• A safe, nurturing environment, one in which participants grow comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings and ideas
• Acquisition of emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-reflection through group discussion and spirited team exercises
• The power of inspiring personal stories told by successful women from diverse walks of life
• Leadership skill-building, such as public speaking, project management, career development, communication, and etiquette – led by experts in specific areas
• Diverse site visits that enhance learning experiences
All activities are designed to be engaging as well as instructive so that participants have fun while learning.
Sparks is a structured program in which participants meet weekly during an eight-month period. Features include:
• Small groups (8-10 participants) operating under the guidance of trained adult facilitators. Groups are kept small to facilitate team-building, individual attention, and development of a close network (“family”) of peers and professionals who can continue to encourage and support
• Participant-led meetings to provide leadership experience
• Team planning and implementation of a social change project. Examples of past projects include: a campaign on breast cancer awareness; teaching local women marketable, at-home skills; sensitizing a community about domestic violence; developing a brochure on the use and abuse of medications. To date, thousands of people have been reached through Sparks projects. Learn more about the impact of Sparks’ social change projects.
Sparks participants, through personal growth and exposure to new experiences of a broader world, develop confidence in their abilities as problem solvers, and reach higher to fulfill a potential they heretofore didn’t know they had.
At the same time Sparks young women, bonding in sisterhood, become supportive role models for younger girls, older women, and same-age peers.