Sparkle Whitaker (BA22) named top changemaker at Taco Bell Foundation's inaugural Ambition Accelerator Summit
2022-11-13 • Sam Fox School
At the inaugural Ambition Accelerator Summit, the Taco Bell Foundation and its partners Taco Bell and Ashoka named Sparkle Whitaker (BFA22) the top changemaker for The Onyx Incubator, a free three-year program she founded that supports youth in Cook County, Ill. who have experienced incarceration in building their creative and social skills in preparation for life after high school.
Nearly 300 submissions from 26 teams and 14 states offered innovative ideas for enacting community and global-level change, with particular focus on addressing inequities. Whitaker will receive $25,000 to fast-track her social venture to reduce youth recidivism in Chicago.
Whitaker’s Chicago-based Onyx Incubator offers workshops on creativity to youth who have experienced incarceration, or qualify for alternatives to detention centers. The virtual setting allows youth to stay home under parental supervision or maintain participation in school while learning new skills through classes at night, with plans to expand to in-person experiences in the near future. The $25,000 will help Whitaker expand her course offerings and provide physical materials in community centers so students participating in the classes can learn tangible skills, such as fashion design.
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