This Fall Sharprint was proud to participate in Chicago’s Spark program. Spark is a national non-profit organization who’s mission is “...to provide life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities across the United States.” Spark seeks to accomplish their goals through facilitating mentorships between middle school youth and professionals working in a field of their interests.
Among the goals of Spark, the greatest is to curb the dropout rate in urban areas. Here in Chicago we celebrated our highest graduation rate on record of 60.6%, but this still leaves a staggering 39.4% dropping out. This is a number Spark and all of us here at Sharprint would like to see shrink to 0.
For our inaugural Spark session we were blessed with the opportunity to mentor three young scholars from Legacy Charter School in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood. Each student worked with a different member of our Sharprint team to realize individual projects. I, Jake production artist here at Sharprint, had the pleasure of mentoring an understatedly talented and intelligent young lady named Dailon-le.
Together (much more Dailon-le than I, honestly), we conceived and planned the production of a series of artworks/tee shirt designs. In our short time together, I watched Dailon-le’s budding talents come to life as the designs started with pencil and marker drawings. Using this raw material we explored the basics of vector graphics to flesh out the designs. We then printed her stellar (seriously) designs with our direct to garment prints. Along the way Dailon-le soaked up these new experiences like a sponge.
I was continually awestruck by Dailon-le’s enthusiasm and ability to understand new concepts when set free to use them to express herself. Its our hope here at Sharprint that Dailon-le and her fellow young scholars found half the inspiration in this experience as I did. We wish them well in their continued studies all the way through college.