Spark Participant Spotlight with Zarihya Brown

Zarihya Brown joined the Spark the Journey family during her sophomore year of high school at Bell Multicultural High School. She’s currently a sophomore at Trinity Washington University.

Why did you decide to get involved with Spark the Journey?

I initially made the choice to get involved with Spark the Journey when they came to speak at my school, because of the speaker’s enthusiasm throughout her presentation. I was intrigued by what they were presenting and wanted to learn more. A mentoring connection seemed ideal for me at the time because I also felt like I had a lot going on. Having a strong sense of direction and excellent leadership is wonderful, and they also opened up many new chances for me.

In what ways has Spark the Journey impacted your life?

My life was significantly impacted by Spark the Journey. They inspired me to work harder because they made me feel valued. I was able to see that they genuinely cared, such as when my program coordinator, Ms. Imane, attended all the meetings and check-ins. When COVID arrived, they continued to support us. They stayed in touch, checked to see if I still had supplies, and were a huge assistance. COVID was incredibly challenging, and the program had an open mind even if I might not have. Knowing that they still wanted to be there for me motivated me to push on and be there for myself.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my spare time, I enjoy writing poetry, trying new restaurants, having fun, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing.

If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be?

If I could, I would most like to meet Taraji P. Henson, due to her great character. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., like me, and she never gave up striving to achieve her objectives. She accomplished her objectives and now has great power. She now commands a lot of attention and is tremendously successful. She is someone I look up to and hope to be like in the future.

What activities do you like to do with your mentor?

When we go for drives, have food, and chat, those are some of the things I enjoy doing with my mentor. She makes me feel at ease while we’re out and about talking about a variety of intriguing things.

What’s a dream you would like to achieve?

Owning my own dancing studio is a goal I’d like to accomplish. I want to train other children to dance and to work as a dance choreographer. I’ve been dancing since I was three years old, and I absolutely adore it. I want to inspire other young girls to pursue careers in dance by serving as an example for them.

How is your mentor helping you achieve that dream?

My mentor is assisting me in achieving my dream by offering me wise counsel and encouraging me to have a positive outlook. She is a great listener, so having her lend me her ear and then being able to speak effectively simply gives me comfort in knowing that I have a support system behind me and that it will point me on the correct route.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far in your time with Spark?

My time with Spark has taught me many valuable lessons, but the most significant one is that family doesn’t always have to be related by blood. This program has frequently proven to be extremely trustworthy and kind to me. My family has taught me that love and support will always keep you going and motivated, so just knowing that I have such a wonderful family with Spark will hold a special place in my heart.