Spark the Wave
My Organization: Spark the Wave runs educational seminars throughout the year with schools, community service groups and other youth organizations, primarily in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to encourage youth to be volunteers and civic leaders. Before 2004, it was part of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Spark the Wave hosts an annual weeklong summer program, called Wave Week, which is also focused on leadership in community service.
My Job: “The main part of my job is connecting Spark the Wave with other community service-oriented groups that are looking for leadership training for their youth volunteers,” said Fernandes, who is one of the organization’s four part-time employees. His primary duties involve recruiting youth to attend the summer program and finding partner organizations for seminars. During Wave Week, he helps with operations to ensure the camp runs smoothly.
How I Got Here: Fernandes, who graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2009 with a business degree, originally got involved with Spark the Wave as a camper in 2001, before joining the staff as a volunteer in 2002 and eventually as a paid part-time employee in 2008.
Best Part of My Job: “Being able to share Spark the Wave’s program with as many youth as possible,” Fernandes said. “I get to meet a lot of great youth volunteers who are making an incredible difference in their community.”
Worst Part of My Job: “Though we reach thousands of youth each year, I always feel like we could be doing more,” Fernandes said.
Memorable Moment: “Looking out over our closing ceremony at Wave Week 2009 and seeing over 150 excited and motivated teens and their families overflowing the room. We started Spark the Wave with a small group of volunteers, and moments like that remind me how far we have come,” he said.
What Could Make My Job Better: “If we had more paid staff people that are here full time, we could really have a huge impact,” Fernandes said.