Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that applications for the 2019-2020 SPARK Boston Council are now available. The SPARK Boston Council is Mayor’s Walsh’s 20-35 year old leadership and civic engagement council, charged with leading the City’s efforts to engage Boston’s young adult population. This is the first year that the age range for the Council will expand eligibility to include 35 year olds, in order to capture a wider range of experiences and opinions.
“The City of Boston has many opportunities through a number of diverse industries, making us an attractive home for young people from every neighborhood,” said Mayor Walsh. “The SPARK Boston Council does incredible work to help build community for all Bostonians and connect them with our local government.”
Under the direction of the SPARK Boston Director, the 2019-2020 Council will spend the year leading programming and advising Boston’s leaders to help our city grow as an inviting, connected, culturally rich and sustainable place for young adults. Past projects have included programming and projects on childcare access and affordability, immigrant advancement, economic development, equal pay, voter engagement, and neighborhood engagement. Throughout the SPARK Boston Council term, members hear from key members of the Mayor’s staff, leaders within City Hall, and community organizations ranging from regional research to civic innovation.
“Each year, the SPARK Boston Council helps our City and community identify priorities and values of our emerging leaders and generation – their clear eyes and energy help envision how we can improve in service delivery, increasing equity, and communication,” said Amy Mahler, Director of SPARK Boston. “Whether convening conversations about immigration or conferences on childcare accessibility, our Council seizes the opportunity to access City leaders and help educate and advocate for their peers. We expanded the council to include 35 year olds to help capture the experience of young adults who are more settled as residents and professionals, beginning their civic journey.”
Applicants can learn more about the Council and application process during an Instagram Live on the @SparkBos Instagram page on Monday, May 20, where applicants can ask questions about the application and selection process. Applicants can also reach out with questions to [email protected] Applications close on Monday, June 16, at 11:59 p.m., after which a selection committee will review the applications and determine which candidates will partake in the group interviews. Once the group interviews conclude, the selection committee helps the Director select the final 2019-2020 SPARK Boston Council.
The 2018-2019 SPARK Boston Council is comprised of 40 Boston residents, who live in 17 different neighborhoods across Boston. This group includes architects, entrepreneurs, teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, community organizers, restaurant professionals, lawyers, and representatives from other industries across the public and private sectors. Over a fourth of the Council are native Bostonians, while others grew up as far outside of Boston as El Salvador, Florida, France, Georgia, Mississippi, India and beyond.
Last year, the SPARK Boston program received 165 applications for the Council, showing a robust interest for involvement and engagement. Projects for this Council cohort have included voter registration pop-ups at local breweries, hosting Boston’s Creative Economy Mingle for the Chamber of Commerce’s FUNinBOS Festival, the Council’s first hackathon in the Future of Childcare Challenge, an event partnership with Suffolk University centered on professional development, and the continuation of the Chief Chat series. Notable alum of SPARK Boston and ONEin3 include State Representative Liz Miranda, Boston School Committee Member Michael Loconto, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics’ Chief of Staff Jaclyn Youngblood, and others.
“SPARK, for me, is an opportunity to push yourself to grow and evolve in community with your cohort in a way that we may not force ourselves to do on the daily,” said Sam Montaño of the 2018-2019 SPARK Boston Council.
“As the Mayor’s Census Liaison and a SPARK Council member, I have seen how civic engagement creates strong connections between young adults and our city,” said Sebastiana Zapata of the 2018-2019 SPARK Boston Council. “My time on the council further empowered me to be a leader and granted opportunities to create bonds with tomorrow’s leaders.”
Applicants must be Boston residents and between the ages of 20 to 35 to apply for the Council. Applications for the Council can be found here and submission deadline is Monday, June 17. For more information on the SPARK Boston Program, please visit http://www.boston.gov/spark/.