On September 22, various youth-involvement organizations will come together as part of an event termed the “Opportunities Fair” by Sparks Youth Enrichment Group.

The attendees of Sparks’ first conference, “Illuminate!” held on July 7 earlier this year.

Sparks Youth was founded by Julie Nguyen, one of Garneau’s alum, in February 2012. It began as a project for Change Inc., an e-course designed to provide training and mentorship for high school students creating start-up initiatives. Initially, Julie focused the group on causes revolving around athletics and women’s rights. But as the group slowly developed into what it is today, it expanded its cause to educating male and female high school students, introducing them to opportunities, and helping them reach their maximum potential––while still staying true to its original cause of women’s rights. Hence, with the help of her peers and fellow Garneau alumni, Jean Wu and Priscilla Yung, she held the group’s first conference geared towards women: the Illuminate Conference on July 7, bringing together female youth from across Toronto to network, develop leadership skills, and learn more about women’s rights and the misrepresentation of women in the media.


The purpose of their next event, as discernible by its name, is to provide students with opportunities for getting involved with different initiatives. Many organizations––a list of which can be found on the Sparks Youth website––will be in attendance at the fair to promote their causes and explain how students can contribute. The organizations include the City Youth Council of Toronto, Kids Help Phone, World Vision, Shad Valley, the TDSB Student Super-council, and many more. In addition, there will be an hour-long workshop on networking and brand leadership by Bobby Umar, an expert on leadership training and professional development.

The Sparks’ conference organization committee, headed by M.G.C.I. alum Julie Nguyen pose for a photo during their first conference, “Illuminate!”

The fair will take place at the Scarborough Civic Centre, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Chances are, there’s an organization or two attending the fair that you’ve already been interested in joining, and if not, you can still come out for any opportunity to get involved.