We can’t solve challenges for our youth, we must do it with them
SparkShare's efforts are a 50/50 partnership between youth and adults, focused on solving youth-identified issues that affect us all. Both youth and adults must be ready to listen, learn, work, and drive change.
Solving a problem for someone else has never worked. In order to enable young people to develop the agency to control their own future, we must empower them to create their own solutions to the challenges they face.
Access and Skills
Lasting solutions must ensure that youth have both access to the building blocks of opportunity and the skills required to make the most of them.
Large scale change requires shared responsibility. SparkShare creates collaborations that cross traditional boundaries and brings together urban and suburban communities that don't typically share solutions.
Meet Our Team
We are here to choose how we see our future and how we can make that happen
-- Kim, youth participant, MassVOTE
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Neil Silverston is a social entrepreneur who has dedicated his career to creating opportunity and investing in the enormous potential of individuals to succeed. Mr. Silverston was a co-founder of City Year, a national service program that unites young adults for a year of full-time community service in our schools.
Continuing his focus on cultivating potential, Mr. Silverston launched and led WorkSource Partners, a welfare-to-work and workforce development organization creating groundbreaking employer-driven approaches to enabling individuals to succeed in employment and education. In addition, Neil has been an organizing leader on poverty and opportunity, building community and interfaith collaborations around gun violence reduction, economic opportunity, and immigration.
Neil is a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Business School.
Co-Founder and Board Chair
Marsha Alperin is a clinical social worker with a focus on social justice and youth. Previously, she was a Vice President at Boston Financial Data Services where she worked as a client liaison and designed computer interface systems. Marsha is a graduate of Tufts University and Simmons School of Social Work.
Barry Bluestone, Ph.D.
Barry Bluestone is a Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at Northeastern University where he was the founding Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy and the founding Dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. A renowned public policy, housing, and urban development expert, Barry has led research projects on housing, economic development, state and local public finance, transportation, workforce development and vocational education, and manufacturing.
Co-Founder and Secretary
Victoria Rakov works as an independent consultant to non-profit organizations, with a focus on education and youth. Prior to working independently, she was a partner at Mercer Management Consulting, where she assisted multi-billion-dollar companies in managing large-scale change. At Mercer, Vicky worked in the areas of general strategy, operations, organizational design and executive education. Vicky is a graduate of Wellesley College and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Tiziana Dearing is a Professor of Macro Practice at Boston College School of Social Work, and Co-Director for Boston College's Center for Social Innovation, a premier resource for training, support, and research encouraging the development of new ideas and directions for solving social problems. Prior to Boston College, Tiziana was the CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston. In addition, she has led a number of anti-poverty organizations, including Boston Rising, a start-up anti-poverty philanthropic organization.
Jesús Gerena is Chief Executive Officer of Family Independence Initiative (FII), a national innovator of new approaches to economic and social mobility that demonstrate that low-income families have the initiative and capacity to move themselves and their communities out of poverty. Prior to FII, Jesús worked for 15 years as a community organizer, most recently as Deputy Director of the Hyde Square Task Force, a program dedicated to empowering and engaging youth in turbulent neighborhoods.
Evan Harrel is an independent consultant who works with non-profit organizations to refine their goals, operating strategies and targeted outcomes. Evan has an excellent track record as a senior executive in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He was a Senior Portfolio Manager at Invesco Funds, a $750 billion international investment management company, and most recently, he served as the Executive Director of Small Steps Nurturing Center, an operator of early learning centers for economically at-risk children in Houston, TX.
Alan Khazei is a social entrepreneur who has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference. Alan is also well known for his work in the service community and is the co-founder and former CEO of City Year. More recently, Alan is the founder and CEO of Be The Change, Inc., a national movement building organization which creates bipartisan nationwide campaigns to impact public policy by organizing coalitions of nonprofits, social entrepreneurs policymakers, private sector leaders, academics, and citizens.
Maicharia Z. Weir Lytle
Maicharia Z. Weir Lytle is President and CEO of United South End Settlements, an organization whose mission is to harness the power of our diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families. She has spent her entire career serving individuals, families and communities in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. With two decades of executive leadership and management, fundraising, community development and program innovation experience, she has routinely developed, grown and elevated organizations.