Sparks and Thriving


Educators and youth leaders know how motivating it can be for young people to discover their "sparks"—those activities and interests that truly engage kids to be their best. Discovering those sparks can help students express their personalities and make unique contributions to the world.

Search Institute research shows that kids who thrive have two important supports: knowledge of what their sparks are and adults who support the development of those sparks. Several research studies show that creative arts, athletics, and learning are the top interests that kids identify as their personal sparks. Other activities like reading, volunteering, nature, and spirituality also spark kids’ passions.  Research also shows, however, that too many kids don’t get the care and attention necessary to help them identify and nurture their sparks. What’s so important about that? Lots. Kids who know and develop their Sparks—and who have adults in their lives to help—have

  • higher grades
  • better school attendance and physical health
  • empathy and social competence
  • concern for the environment
  • a desire to help others and a sense of purpose

Read the research and help us make sure kids know their sparks, grow them, and share them.

Get Started with Sparks