March 16, 2022
[CHICAGO] - On this day, digital mindful fitness platform Spark by Gabby (“spark”) celebrates its two-year anniversary of interrupting burnout. Operating at the intersection of wellness and impact, spark applies research-based stress-relief techniques and facilitates peer-to-peer community grounded in the values of mind & body and social justice.
On March 16, 2020, the first day of the COVID-19 lockdown in Washington, D.C., spark was founded in CEO Gabby Lubin’s living room as she led a virtual fitness class of more than 50 people. The class offered 45 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and grounding mindfulness to help attendees recharge from the stress and uncertainty of the unfolding pandemic. Yet, by the end of the class, Gabby recognized that her class methodology of fitness and mindfulness - the two most effective stress-relief techniques - would be a lasting transformation.
“I felt a unique sense of purpose - it gave me energy I had never known before,” recalls Gabby. “I truly felt a calling towards the unknown and I was excited.”
In two years, spark has achieved significant growth milestones by focusing on serving educators, who experience disproportionate levels of burnout. The company has grown from one instructor to thirteen, from 50 members to 552 members, from two class types to nine unique offerings, and now serves the staff of 15 schools in Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. As the spark community has expanded, it has raised nearly $8,000 through Sweat for Justice classes for a cause.
spark’s growth is matched by its meaningful outcomes. An analysis of 2021 spark data showed that teachers who take two or more classes per week are 33% more likely to feel relaxed and 24% more likely to feel that they have energy to spare. Overall, teachers who participate in spark report higher scores of well-being as compared to other teachers and to the general population.
“I love that every class incorporates mindfulness - when I'm consistently incorporating classes from spark into my routine, my mood is better and I manage stress that comes my way better,” explains Emily Allen, an intervention teacher. “I am a better educator for my students when I take care of my mental and physical health.”
To celebrate its anniversary, spark is hosting a birthday party for a cause on March 26. The spark community is invited to vote for their favorite class format by donating to the nourish, empower, or energize format; the funds raised will be donated to the spark school that takes the most classes in March. The winning school’s wellness committee will be able to use the funds to support teacher wellness in whichever way they find most valuable.
2022 will be a year of exciting growth as spark endeavors to co-create a world where burnout is the exception, not the norm. Forthcoming announcements on spark’s growth will be shared with the spark community and published publicly.