Celebrating SPARK Awards 2017 Nominees: Part 1

Celebrating SPARK Awards 2017 Nominees: Part 1

We recently wrapped up the public nomination phase for our cityCURRENT and WKNO televised awards show, The SPARK Awards. The show celebrates and honors organizations and individuals, in 13 different categories, who are leading by example and making a difference in the Mid-South. At this point, the nominations have been handed over to the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, which is selecting the honorees who will be highlighted in this year’s special broadcast on WKNO/Channel 10 during the holiday season. Since it was heartwarming to once again have so many stories of hometown heroes giving back come through, I’d like to do what I did last year and take a few weeks to share some of the nominations, as a way to inspire each of us with the GOOD taking place here in our city. These are currently nominees, but they deserve praise and celebration for their efforts.   

Dr. Harold Smith…has served as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant principal as well as devoted father to more than his own children. He is a role model, by not only serving as an example to kids by being a highly educated and professional adult; but, he encourages, nurtures and love his kids in the classroom, on the court and anywhere else he needs to. He has coached multiple basketball teams paying for jerseys, giving rides, and acting as true role model to his players…He also serves an entrepreneur who established a nonprofit, Everyday People Inc. This company helps empower youth. His nonprofit gives youth money for text books, school supplies, housing fees and more. He makes sure youth are given every opportunity….These are just a few examples of the amazing work he does…”

Marissa Pittman embodies the ideals of the SPARK Award through her involvement with Pumps and Politics, LITE Memphis, her school, and her community. Through LITE, Marissa had to launch an entrepreneurial project that improved her community. She launched "Pumps and Politics" to encourage more young women of color to run for office. As a sophomore in high school, she organized a workshop led by a City Councilwoman to encourage more girls to run for office. Marissa was the youngest student ever selected for the LITE program (15% acceptance rate). Marissa also serves as an ambassador for Goodwall, an organization that helps students find internships and scholarships. Marissa served as the President of Women of Color for Change at White Station. Marissa leads her Sunday School at her local church and was selected to represent White Station at the statewide conference of FBLA. She also serves on the LITE Youth Advisory Council and has led freshmen orientation at White Station. I'm nominating Marissa Pittman because she has shown extreme impact for a 15 year old. Marissa is creating opportunities for others and devoting large portions of her time to making Memphis a better place…”

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