Building a Team

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.” 

Nicholas Sparks

As a kid, I would hear the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself!” This statement, masterfully applied when things weren’t going as anticipated, reinforced the notion of going it alone and trusting no one. Over the years, having worked in institutions where collaboration and teamwork were not just encouraged but essential for success, I have come to embrace precisely the opposite.

Last night we welcomed two new members to our Board of Directors, Christine and Armando Franco. Both Christine and Armando bring a lifetime of teaching, working with youth, and a deep passion for making this world a better place. Importantly, we carry decades of friendship and trust with the Francos into this new working relationship, and the excitement over this new venture is palpable.

We have only held our second board meeting, and the reality has begun to creep in that what we are doing can and will have a lasting impact on communities and schools here in Los Angeles. There is much work ahead, but it is less daunting knowing that we have new team members at our side ready to take on the challenges and adventures that await us.

We closed the evening with the Francos making MyIntent bracelets. Their word choices: Care, Give, and Healer. Befitting testimonial monikers.

Our Mission

“To spotlight and support our local heroes in education”

LumenSparQ Mission Statement

Here at LumenSparQ, our mission is to spotlight our local heroes and give support through financial, human, and material resources as best fit each situation. If we discover a local hero providing food and other necessities to families in need, we may support them with the person-power to package and distribute supplies. Or, our support may take the form of supplying specific goods they may be lacking. If a local hero is providing after school classes for parents, help can come from purchasing learning materials or through in-person professional development and coaching.

The critical point is that we don’t know what we may find with each new case. We will maintain a high level of flexibility to support in ways where our strengths are the most impactful and our existing resources most helpful.

In addition to these forms of support, we want to share our hero’s experience with a broader audience. We will focus a spotlight on our hero’s story through our website and social media outlets, share the good work, and inspire others to get involved.


LumenSparQ, Why the Name?

Lumen – A measurement of light, the approximate amount of light emitted from one birthday candle. 1

Spark – a small fiery particle thrown off from a fire, a trace of a specified quality or intense feeling. 2

When brainstorming a potential name for the organization, we knew we wanted it to meet specific criteria. The name should:

  • Relate to our mission and vision;
  • Be unique, easy to pronounce, and “spark” curiosity;
  • Hold a bit of quirkiness or whimsy to stick in the mind of the viewer.

We felt that a word related to “light” was important. Light conveys positive thoughts and intentions. Shining a light on something brings awareness. Carrying a torch can define love or victory. In hard times, we hold out hope for the light at the end of the tunnel. A superstar shines bright.

A spark, or in our case, the liberal spelling “sparq” with a Q, can signify the start of something new, or the spreading of ideas. The added definition of “a trace of a specified quality or intense feeling” further reinforces our mission to support heroes passionate about the work they do.

Through this process, we arrived at LumenSparQ, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, our history is still ahead, waiting to be told.


A Long Time Coming

We have discussed and dreamed about the idea of creating a nonprofit organization for years. We knew we wanted to positively impact people’s lives, particularly people at an economic disadvantage or facing struggles that most of us might never encounter.

We also knew that we wanted to start in the field we knew best, education. Because of our connections to the people and resources in this field, and because public education is a sector in great need at all age levels, this was a desirable starting point.

Our focus areas may likely shift over time, as we grow as an organization and our mission evolves. For now, we would like to focus on spotlighting local heroes that are already doing good work and supporting them through financial, human, and material resources. Each case is unique, and our response will reflect that uniqueness accordingly.

If you are reading this, then you likely share our hope to make the world a better place, and you probably care about the public education system and hope to support efforts to improve it. We’d love to hear from you.

Where do we hope to be a year from now? If we can successfully fund four projects, once a quarter, we would be very satisfied. It may seem like a small goal, but it’s more than we are doing now, and that’s a good thing.

If you want to play a role in this journey, however large or small, please reach out to us.

Welcome to LumenSparQ!

John and Katya, co-founders.