Converting simple hobbies into so much more. The research into spark development.

What are sparks?

Sparks are those activities in your life that get your blood pumping, those things you just love to do, a unique gift that you can do more easily than others.  For many teenagers things like sport, drama, music, art come to mind.  Sparks are more than simply hobbies though – they are those things that light a fire inside you simply by the act of thinking about it.  You feel like you could work on your spark for days on end, as if time stood still while you did it.  Studies have shown that 66% of teenagers have at least one spark and 98% of teenagers spend at least 1 hour per week on these interests.

Why are they important

Sparks are important for everyone because they provide a fuel for life, a passion, a purpose for living.  There is however a difference between simply having a hobby or an interest and a spark.  For one third of teenagers these interests and hobbies do not ignite a passion and as such are not really a spark.  The distinction between hobbies and sparks is important because of the outcomes teenagers with sparks produce, compared to those simply with hobbies.  For example: teens with a well defined spark were more likely to take initiative to develop their own spark, had a higher sense of purpose and were more comfortable asking adults for guidance with respect to their spark.

Sees Self As

Teen with at least one spark       

Teen with no well defined sparks    


Taking initiative to develop talents




Having a sense of purpose for a long time




Asking adults for guidance in development of sparks




In addition to these attributes, across the whole study, teenagers with defined sparks were more likely to have these positive attributes.  The study also showed that having more than one spark was beneficial to the likelihood of showing positive attributes, compared to only one spark.  In future articles, we’ll show you the stats on how sparks contribute to positive life attributes such as leadership qualities and reduce the likelihood of risky behaviour such as alcohol abuse and drug abuse.

Suggestions to develop sparks

  • Ask teens about things that matter to them 
  • Give teens time if they have not yet identified their sparks or issues that they care deeply about
  • Introduce teens to others who share the same spark
  • Believe in teens, even when they may not believe in themselves
  • Help them figure out the next little step in moving forward
  • Don’t impose your ideas on them – allow them to develop their own
  • Introduce them to new issues and ideas related to their sparks.

What we do

The Dream Initiative believes that all teenagers have the ability to experience success.  We believe that life should be fun and that challenges should be enjoyed for the lessons that they are.  We believe that no teenagers should feel alone and unsure of their place in the world.  This is why we do what we do.  We utilize storytelling, metaphors and fun to give teenagers the lessons and mental tools to work their way through life and life’s challenges.  We run one-on-one coaching, workshops and classes to help teens identify their purpose and to begin to create their life with purpose.  We challenge teens to take responsibility for their life and give them the support and tools they need to succeed.

Trudi & Ben
The Dream Initiative