Community members have the opportunity to celebrate important programming for youth and help ensure it continues at the annual SparkFest showcase, taking place Thursday, May 4 at Barb’s Bakery and Bistro.
SparkFest is a fun-filled night where high-profile indie musicians like Savvie, Tom Vandeursen (lead guitarist for the Boom Booms and Small Town Artillery) and JP Maurice share the stage with local artists and youth performers such as Gulf Islands Secondary School’s champion improv team.
The annual event was created by and for SWOVA’s Pass It On Girls program as a way for women to showcase their skills and quickly turned into a highly anticipated community outing. For the first time ever the group will welcome Pass It On Boys, which was introduced this year.
“It’s definitely lots of laughs,” student mentor Fiona Pirie said of the event. “It’s really about enjoying the space you’re in, and igniting the spark for next year.”
Pass It On is a SWOVA mentoring group in which young people get to know and support one another. Kate Nash is the long-time facilitator of the girls’ program, which has worked to empower and unite local young women for the past seven years. This year SWOVA also accomplished a long-term goal of offering Pass It On to boys.
In each case, student mentors at Gulf Islands Secondary School are paired up with middle school buddies in Grade 8, meeting once a week at their own discretion to share about their lives, experiences and challenges. The group as a whole meets once a month.
Sparkfest is more than just a fundraiser, it’s a celebration of a year of important work wrapping up. Formal dress is encouraged but the atmosphere is anything but stilted. The stage show is supplemented with special treats and a silent auction filled with amazing items, with all proceeds toward Pass It On programming. Tickets are available at Barb’s, with a discount for those purchased in advance. The evening starts at 7 p.m.