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  • akil clark

Growing to better service our community

This summer, The Spark Foundation has been working on ways to build on the strong foundation we have laid over the past two years and expand our mission of getting high quality, engaging, fun, and diverse books into the hands of students that need them most. It is through this process that we have identified areas of opportunity on our board of directors, that if filled with the right talent, can help ensure we reach our full potential as an organization and better serve our community.

We are excited to announce the addition of two new board members, Lesley Christensen and Kayela Hadaway.

Lesley Christensen has worked in two of the largest school districts in Iowa. She has focused on building opportunities for students and families to connect them to the wider community as a Community School Coordinator and most recently as the District Social Worker for the Waukee School District. She has a passion for social justice and joined the Spark Foundation because she has witnessed the impact it has had on young students. She believes they find joy in choosing books with characters who look and sound like them and it ignites a passion for reading.

There has never been a moment like there is right now to capture the energy of educators craving materials to share with their classrooms that will help each individual student feel heard and recognized. Lesley believes the Spark Foundation will be a major player in connecting teachers to materials that will build bridges to students and the communities where they live.

Kayela Hadaway is an Operational Risk Manager with Wells Fargo. Her passion for volunteerism started in high school when she became involved in the Community Youth Leadership Program. From there she has spent her time volunteering for numerous organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Iowa, Special Olympics Iowa, Children’s Cancer Connection, ChildServe, and the River Woods PTA.  Kayela is excited for the opportunity to give back to the community with Spark Foundation to create the chance for all students to find their love of reading through diverse and inclusive books. In her free time, Kayela enjoy spending time with her husband, young son, and fur babies. 

We believe that Lesley and Kayela’s experience and individual skill sets will be vital to Spark’s future success and organizational growth, and we are honored to welcome them as part of the Spark Foundation Team.

As COVID continues to present additional challenges for families across the country, we recognize how much value our program brings to families across the metro, and we are more dedicated than ever to expand our reach. Throughout the school year, we look forward to sharing more information about Spark's goals and achievements. Until then, we want to wish every student, teacher, and parent well as you begin the 2020 school year.

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