The Upper School SPARC service club is pleased to launch a new service club just for our Middle School peers. It's called Best Buddies.
What is Best Buddies and what are we going to be doing in the middle school?
Best Buddies is an international organization that creates friendships between students and a population of special needs students. Their mission is to be the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Best Buddies at Shorecrest is going to be a Middle School chapter of Upper School's SPARC. SPARC will be organizing two events per semester with the middle schoolers, and we will also be participating in the Best Buddies Friendship Walk Tampa Bay. The Friendship Walk raises money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. SPARC members are very excited to be working with the Middle School to plan events this year!
What is SPARC and what events have we done?
SPARC has already participated in a few events since starting the club just a year ago. One event is the Special Olympics, in which SPARC members were assigned to a PARC client and helped them compete in a bowling competition against other clients. The SPARC members cheered on their clients and handed out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons afterwards. The day ended with laughter and hugs from the clients to show their gratitude. It’s an event that all members of SPARC look forward to!
Another event SPARC participates in is the PARC art gallery. During this event, SPARC members sell the PARC clients’ artwork in Downtown St. Petersburg. The clients make all kinds of stuff to sell such as necklaces, bracelets, paintings, ceramic plates, and much more. The proceeds made from selling the artwork go back to PARC to help the clients.
Another event that SPARC has attended was Night to Shine, a prom held for PARC clients every year. This is one of the most thrilling events of the year. In the afternoon the PARC clients start getting ready with volunteers doing their hair and makeup. Then they get a volunteer to be their “date” for the night. The volunteers can decide whether they want to help by doing makeup or hair, be a photographer, or be the “date” of a client for the night. It’s truly an amazing night and fun way to make new friends!
SPARC also participated in Job-a-palooza. During this event a PARC teenager and a volunteer get paired up to attend a job fair featuring future jobs PARC teenagers could have. At each booth the teens get to learn about the job and participate in mini activities representing what the workers may encounter. It’s such a great feeling to see the teenagers get so excited about their future and exceed during the mini games.
There are even more events that SPARC members have participated in, but these are just a few of the best ones!