The wonderful thing about being famous is the availability and chance to help change lives for the better. If you watch those celebrities who donate their time, talent and testimony to affect a change, you’ll see Jordin Sparks right in the mix. We caught up with her at the 51st Super Bowl in Houston, where she opened up about her passion for giving back.
We all know her when she started out as the youngest singer at 17 to win the sixth season of American Idol series in 2007. Yet, this talented and fiery vocalist has been at this game since she was home schooled in Ridgewood, NJ. Those in the know will recognize the family name from former professional football player Phillippi Sparks, who played 8-years as defensive end for the NY Giants. With an evangelical Christian background, Sparks had been participating and winning many contests before taking the leap onto American Idol. Since becoming the season winner, she has used it as part of her platform to ranch out in songwriting and acting.
“Look for the good in every situation. Find the good and be it … you be the good”
Because of or due to her enthusiastic and infectious attitude towards the positive in life, she is presently nominated for an “Influencer Award.” Although Sparks has been the recipient of many accolades from organizations such as Grammy, BET, MTV, People’s Choice, American Music Awards and NAACP Image Awards, the Influencers Awards are given to those in honor for the work they do in the community and how they make a difference. This is the difference she seeks in her own foundation.
In 2008, the MAD Girls Inc was founded, with the campaign underneath “I Matter You Can.” It’s a simple question: I’m making a difference – are you? Through this ideology, the campaign cultivates community advocacy and volunteerism among teens and young adults. M.A.D. stands for Making A Difference. The campaign does this by encouraging young adults to find an issue they’re passionate about, maybe even a little “mad” about, and then funnel their energy into changing it. The campaign also provides grants for youth-initiated service projects ranging from clothing drives for the homeless to international mission trips. Future plans for “I’m M.A.D. Are You?” includes starting MAD clubs in schools and organizing camps to equip young adults with community organizing and advocacy skills.
Since its inception, the MAD campaign has changed in the scope of how they operate and what they offer. Part of what the foundation has been doing centers on sports, since this is her and her father’s base. They follow each super bowl host city every year, arrive a little early and try to make an impact, and make a difference in the community where they are. “No matter if it’s showing kids being active, going to shelters or women’s homes or going to hospitals and visiting. We try to bring a little bit of the super bowl spirit to them. Especially if the kids who have known about the super bowl game but can’t leave their hospital beds, we bring a couple of the players who want to donate their time.”
Despite the upbeat outlook on life, she has proven success to be part of universe. Is it part of her hustle, or her networking that allows her to pull it together? Sparks does have to take a moment to reflect on what it means to her. To hustle is not to give up because giving up is not an option. But if it were to be defined, networking isn’t too far from the hustle. Networking is being in the right moment to meet all new people who can affect your life. You just never know unless you put it out into the universe and that one person may have the power and opportunity to change your life.
When pressed on her motivation, Sparks answers the way a grounded individual who believes would.
“It doesn’t take much because I already wake up motivated. Waking up and just the fact that I’m alive, the sun is shining, people are out there. There are good people and there is good out there if you only take the time to look. But if you can’t see it you gotta be it.”
- Joseph Walker, III
Follow Jordin Sparks on Twitter @JORDIN SPARKS To learn more on M.A.D. Girls Inc visit www.MADGIRLS.com