Acacia Elementary, Arroyo Elementary, Sunnyslope School and Sweetwater School welcomed more than 150 ASU West students for "Sparky's Day of Service," an event aimed at promoting the importance of volunteering within the community. The ASU students also spent time speaking to WESD students about college and the college experience, hoping to inspire and motivate them at an early age. The student volunteers were part of ASU's SPARKS (Students Providing Awareness Resources & Knowledge to Start college) program.
"A lot of ASU students are first-generation college students," said Faith Ritchie, ASU student engagement coordinator. "So making that connection early and relating to these kids and letting them know that education is something you can work towards and continue on with, I think is great and hopefully inspiring to them."
At Acacia Elementary, the ASU students spent time in the classroom, in the lunchroom and on the playground, all in hopes of creating a bond with the younger students.
It's never too early to talk about college," said Christine Hollingsworth, Acacia principal. "These kids already have ideas of what they want to do when they get older and they should know that this avenue is there for them and will help them get to their destination."
Because of the strong relationship between ASU West and WESD, Sparky's Day of Service grew from one school (Sweetwater) last year to four schools this year.
"Following that initial visit last year, we created a mentorship with Sweetwater and now have ten ASU students who go on a weekly basis to help mentor students," added Ritchie.