Boston Youth Fight to Join Superintendent Search and more

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24 Under 24
Meet the Top 24 Under 24 Mythbusters!
SparkAction and our partners held a contest to spotlight young people under age 24 making a difference by empowering their peers with science-based facts about substance use and abuse. The contest was held in support of this year's National Drug Facts Week (Jan 27- Feb. 2, 2014). Check out the inspirational winners and runners up!
Check out the Top 24under24 Youth  Mythbusters making a difference locally. Prepare to be inspired:
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In this Issue
Action Center
Take a minute. Make a difference.

From: The Act 4 Juvenile Justice Campaign
Ask your Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 4123, a bill that would eliminate an exception in the law that has allowed young people to be locked up for "status offenses," or actions that  would not be considered crimes for adults, such as skipping school or drinking alcohol. Girls are more likely to be detained for these types of offenses.
What's Sparking In ...
First to CollegeEducation & Opportunity
New from the First to Finish College project  -  and beyond

To Close the College Readiness Gap, Do Business Differently
Why would Camden, NJ, Public Schools Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, focus on improving school safety and renovating facilities over college readiness?

The Generation Schools Network Model
The Generation Schools Network explores how schools with tight budgets can achieve dramatic improvements not by increasing spending, but by redeploying their resources.

Your turn:what's working (or what's missing) when it comes to supporting first-generation college students in the transition from college to careers? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and you could be featured in our upcoming commentary series!

For the past year, the youth journalism site What Kids Can Do has conducted in-depth investigation of social and emotional learning in U.S. secondary schools, where the documentation is scant. Check out the case studies, research and student voices featured in the new site, Learning by Heart: Social and Emotional Learning in Secondary Schools.
Youth Justice & Safety

This year, the JJDPA, the landmark federal juvenile justice law, turns 40. The Act 4 Juvenile Justice Campaign and SparkAction have launched a new blog series to explore the impact of the law.  Check out the latest posts:

Brand new! The JJIE Digital Magazine
In 10 captivating and multimedia articles, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange's new digital magazine explores key issues in youth justice.

Early Care & Learning

imageAscend at the Aspen Institute released the report, Gateways to Two Generations, which looks at the potential for early childhood programs and partnerships to support children and parents together.

Questions have been flying about Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships since new federal funding for them was announced last month. A new Administration for Children & Families site answers those questions in an easy-to-use, one-stop location. (Thanks to our friends at the National Human Services Assembly for this heads up!)


BSAC StudentsKudos to our friends at the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), which was featured in a recent Boston Globe op-ed
about the lack of student representation on the Superintendent Search Committee.
BSAC's Marcus Wade is quoted as saying, "The Superintendent makes decisions about students and no one knows students' needs better than students."
To make sure youth are heard in this process, BSAC hosted a youth-led Superintendent Search Youth Forum in Boston on March 24.

More youth voices >>

Update from the Team
Ch-ch-changes at SparkAction.
Alison Waldman, oualisonr brilliant editorial associate, has transitioned from staff member to contributing writer to allow her time to pursue her passion for dance and graphic design. She has been an invaluable member of the SparkAction team and we're pleased that she'll continue to write for SparkAction and other outlets! Check out her latest blog,   Confessions of an Accidental Youth Advocate.

We're delighted to welcome Jazmine Johnson (no relation to Caitlin) as our editorial assistant. Jazmine recently earned a B.A. in communications and journalism from Towson University. An avid photo editor and writer, Jazmine most recently interned at the Baltimore Sun. She will provide editorial support and coordinate SparkAction's social media. Meet Jazmine.
About this Update
The SparkUpdate brings together stories, research and tools to help adults and young people become powerful changemakers to improve the lives of children, families and youth.  About SparkAction
Thanks for being part of the SparkAction community!  Please share your stories and resources with us.

Caitlin Johnson and Thaddeus Ferber
SparkAction and the Forum for Youth Investment |

SparkAction: for children, for youth, for change

Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.


March 27, 2014

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