Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced applications for the 2021 SPARK Boston Council are now open and available online.Mayor Walsh’s SPARK Boston Council is a leadership and civic engagement council made up of 20-35 year old individuals, charged with spearheading the City’s efforts to engage Boston’s young adult population. Applications are due Friday, October 30.
“The SPARK Boston Council offers the diverse community of young people in Boston the opportunity to be civically engaged and connect with local government,” said Mayor Walsh. “The City of Boston is dedicated to creating a community for its young adults where they are supported and empowered. I encourage our young residents to apply for this opportunity and help us advance equity and opportunity in Boston.”
Under the direction of the SPARK Boston Director, the 2021 Council will lead programming and advise Boston’s leaders to help with the mission of helping the city grow as an inviting, connected, culturally rich and sustainable place for young adults. 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.
“SPARK Boston has been a constant in my life through all the difficult stages of 2020, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to make a difference in our community right now,” said Audrey Seraphin, the new Director of SPARK Boston who was appointed last month. “Whether convening conversations with civic leaders, educating and empowering young professionals working in the city, or celebrating the achievements of Millennial and Gen Z Boston residents, our Council seizes upon every opportunity to advocate for our peers and their interests.”
The current 2019-2020 SPARK Boston Council is composed of 40 Boston residents who represent 19 different neighborhoods across the city. This group includes entrepreneurs, legislative aides, graduate students, community organizers, artists, lawyers, urban planners, and representatives from other industries across the public and private sectors.
Those looking to join the SPARK Boston Council can learn more about the program and application processby attending one of two Virtual Open Houses on either Tuesday, October 20 or Friday, October 23 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Those interested in attending can RSVP here. Applicants can also reach out with questions to [email protected].
Projects for the 2019-2020 Council cohort included partnering on a Census Block Party on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, hosting Boston’s Creative Economy Minglefor the Chamber of Commerce’s FUNinBOS Festival, salary negotiation and personal wellness workshops, curated panel discussions, and the continuation of the Chief Chat series. Since moving all operations to virtual forums in March, SPARK Council members have been involved in social media campaigns to promote the 2020 Census, mask-wearing and social distance measures, voter registration, and poll worker recruitment. Most recently, 2019-2020 Council Members hosted a virtual town hall as a part of the 2020 Fierce Urgency of Now (F.U.N.) Festival, and launched #CiviCoffees, a Facebook Live monthly interview show with millennial civic leaders.
During the last recruitment period in the summer of 2019, the SPARK Boston program received 184 applications for the Council, showing a robust interest for involvement and engagement from the millennial and Gen Z communities. SPARK Boston and its previous iteration ONEin3 have now been serving young adults and the City of Boston for over 15 years.
“I joined SPARK because I wanted to expand pathways to civic engagement in Boston,” said continuing SPARK Council member and #CiviCoffees founder Helen Mayer. “I encourage all 20-35 year old Bostonians who are passionate about civic engagement to apply because SPARK provides Council members with the community and connections to create impactful and innovative civic programming, even now.”