At SPIRE Academy, volunteer work has become an integral part of our event operations. The newly created SPIRE Sparks program provides a streamlined avenue that allows individuals to explore volunteering opportunities within SPIRE as well as the surrounding community.
The name comes from our mascot. Sparky provides entertainment and moral support to teams and event patrons; much like our volunteers in the program who graciously support us and the community.
Under the umbrella of the SPIRE Sparks program, students and those within the community volunteer at the academy’s track and field events, drone racing events, football games and swim meets. Volunteers provide support in helping to provide guests with information, running ticket booths, assisting with the events (such as race timing) and running concessions. However, with the launch of the Sparks program, the opportunities for volunteers will expand beyond the events at SPIRE.
SPIRE’s Sparks program is working to establish a valuable relationship with local community organizations. As SPIRE’s student population grows, the goal is to further develop community relationships in a mutually beneficial capacity. Student athletes will be working throughout the community, just as some members of the community are helping out with events hosted on our campus.
The long-term goal of the program is to bring people from all walks of life together in the spirit of supporting and helping others. In the future, volunteers may participate in trash cleanups, nonprofit events, sports programs and beyond within the surrounding community. The positive impact of the Sparks program will create a ripple effect of community action in Northeast Ohio.
SPIRE’s volunteers are truly appreciative of the opportunities they have to participate in events at SPIRE:
“I’m having a ball. Prior to my time at SPIRE, I spent most of my time at home with limited activity and interaction with people. Thanks to the volunteer program, I am now getting out and feel as though I am part of a community. Getting the experiences I have at SPIRE has been one of the best things that have happened to me in quite some time.” (Anthony Delia, II)
“I truly enjoy volunteering at SPIRE, especially helping out at track meets. I have been a SPIRE volunteer for the past 3 years. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to see some of the athlete’s abilities improve year after year. It also feels good to give back to a place that has put so much time and effort into myself and other disabled veterans by training us in adaptive sports as well as helping to improve our stability and overall physical strength.” (John Wade – Army Veteran)
SPIRE is honored to assist Veterans Affairs (VA) by helping disabled veterans. For the past nine years, we’ve operated an adaptive sports training program, working with both the Cleveland VA and the Erie VA. With Sparks, they’ll continue to encourage disabled veterans to join their program for sports, strength, and stability training. A popular focus amongst these veterans is track & field. They particularly enjoy throwing sports such as Shot Put, Discus, and Javelin.
SPIRE also trains these veterans in wheelchair sports including pickleball, disc golf, and basketball. In fact, their training here helps to prepare them to compete in Ohio’s Buckeye Wheelchair Games, with the hopes of advancing and competing in The National Wheelchair Games.
SPIRE is looking ahead, toward the larger impact that our Sparks volunteer program can have on Northeast Ohio. As the program grows, more volunteers will be needed. If you’d like to join the program, please contact Keith Webb, our Community Engagement Coordinator, at [email protected].