SPARK strikes confidence, inspires kindness at MNSU

Is there ever a time when you don’t feel good about yourself and need a pick me up? Forget about a bottle of whiskey or shots of vodka, what you need is SPARK.

SPARK is an acronym for Strengthening Pride and Reinforcing Kindness, and if you are lacking in pride or wish to show kindness to others, then this club is for you. This week’s meeting will be held in the Heritage Room at 5 p.m. Thursday in the CSU, and will be about the power of positivity.

The first week of the club involved a first impression exercise where those who attended had to say something about themselves to four different people and write it on a piece of paper taped to their backs. Before that was the same experiment, except instead of talking to other participants they just wrote on the other side of the paper taped to their backs positive things about the person’s appearance.

The following week involved a drawing project. The participants drew a tree, starting with the roots, describing the successes of their childhood. The branches came next describing the successes of their life from high school on up and the top of the tree was what they hoped to do with their future.

The previous week, jars of love were being distributed by club members themselves around MavAve. During that same week at the meeting, members watched a video about self-esteem, and women in the video described their lives and how people are displayed in entertainment industry are not who you think they are.

Rachel Hoehn, club president, went into more detail about the group:

“SPARK is something that every person needs; regardless of whether or not they are a student. It spreads kindness and joy…along with a sense of pride within themselves.”

Hoehn continued, “My goal with this organization is to provide a safe, fun environment on campus that cherishes the simple things in life. I want students to feel comfortable in their own skin and to connect with others who feel the same. If I can accomplish this, I set out what I intended to do.”

“Although our programs are small in size, they are large in heart. It’s incredible to see the smiles that come on students’ faces when they attend our meetings… or even last week when random students set out to make jars of love. I’m not asking for a big impact, but if this group can make one student’s day better, I will be happy,” Hoehn said.

Hoehn described what she wanted to see SPARK do even after she graduated. “I hope to see this group continue and grow. With the mission behind the organization, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t and I have faith in the leaders of this group; there’s a SPARK in all of them.

The club was founded by Hoehn and several others over this previous summer. It is the last semester for Hoehn as she is graduating from MNSU, Mankato with a degree in Communication Studies.

By creating SPARK, Hoehn will be leaving behind a very important contribution to the campus, which encourages respecting others, building up character and improving oneself.

Hoehn left with one final thought: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. And I have found this to be remarkably true.”

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