Updated: Feb 10, 2022
Originally published by The Delight Awards:
10 January 2022
"The Delight Awards were started in August 2021 by the team at Hooked On Code as a way to acknowledge other businesses, products, and professionals that demonstrate values of Simplicity, Authenticity, Ethics, and spread DELIGHT."
"Let’s go back in time to March 2020. Why yes, that is the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic and corresponding lockdowns. Yes, take a breath, we have bad flashbacks too.
Do you remember the first week or month? You might have felt exhilarated by all the extra time you had and started thinking about what to do. Some of us were tackling issues like working from home (with or without families/kids), being alone, and battling with mental health issues caused by the stress of it all.
While the pandemic did come with a lot of grief, many people found themselves looking for ways to better themselves. What if, not only could you better yourself but also tackle a problem in your community? And what if that way could actually help? Well, let me introduce you to Gabby Lubin, CEO and founder of Spark by Gabby.
Gabby had always wanted to be a teacher and after graduating college, made it into the classroom. After a short time, she was confronted with the stressful realities of education, and would break down trying to re-motivate herself to stay in the classroom. She then moved her focus to finding the answers to the problems that were pushing passionate teachers like herself, right out of the classroom. During this pursuit, she began working towards a specialized master’s degree in educator wellness from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
“We believe that all educators, teachers, and leaders deserve to be well, and that their wellness has a profound impact on their students and community. If we are able to effectively support teachers in understanding how to be and stay well, we empower them to be stronger teachers.”
On March 16, 2020, Washington DC went into a lockdown due to COVID-19. During this time Gabby began leading virtual group fitness classes from her living room. She felt ignited with passion after those classes. Gabby knew how stressful this time was, and being a former educator, how incredibly stressful it would become for fellow educators, as Mayor Bowser had already begun preparing DC schools for distance learning. The nation was already seeing troubling teacher attrition rates. That, along with the ever-rising stress levels brought on by the pandemic and distance learning, she wanted to find a way to help educators feel supported and good about themselves. Not just through workouts, but also through the community. That’s when Spark by Gabby began! During this time and before graduating from Harvard University Graduate School in May 2021, Gabby strategized how to turn the idea of spark into an educator space.
Spark is a (w)holistic wellness platform built by educators, for educators. They provide access to fitness classes, professional development, events, coaching, and more. More than half of the instructors are current or former educators who know first-hand what that teacher burnout and stress feel like, and therefore customize self-care and stress management strategies. Their virtual classes are both live and on-demand making them easily accessible! Spark’s goal is to keep educators in the classroom. An astounding 44% of teachers leave in the first 5 years of teaching! By offering customized self-care, Spark helps educators battle burnout while also helping them feel supported on a professional and personal level. After only 8 weeks on Spark, educators have reported:
+20% increase in work-life balance
+20% increase in decision-making ability
+10% increase in energy
+10% increase in their ability to support others
After participating in professional development, educators reported feeling:
+46% more energized
+20% more relaxed
While Spark is focused on educators, the platform is open to everyone with individual, partnerships, and sponsorship options available. Individual packages start at $12.99 per month for any PreK-12 educator and start at $34.99 per month for anyone else. These packages include live and on-demand access to spark. They have a HUGE assortment of classes, from HIIT to yoga plus dance and cardio! In case you’re not sure Spark is right for you, they do offer a 7-day free trial!
Spark is focused on creating partnerships with schools to help enable them to better care for their educators.
Spark is focused on creating partnerships with schools to help enable them to better care for their educators by providing discounts to the faculty who can then have access to the platform and professional development. There are several different ways to partner from single classes all the way to sponsoring a school! Currently, Spark serves 15 schools and 500+ educators. They have physical hubs in Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC, and are always continuously searching for sponsors.
We love that Spark is thinking about the wellness of our teachers. They already do so much for us and need the support, ESPECIALLY after COVID-19. Spark is currently looking for sponsors in Boston and in Washington DC! That could be you, just saying!"