Spark on 7th

Spark on 7th is a youth innovation space where community, education, & industry come together through innovation, education, and hands-on connected learning. 

Spark on 7th provides youth with a safe place to learn, innovate, collaborate, and create through paid, out-of-school training opportunities. Located at 22 W 7th Ave. in Eugene, Oregon, Spark on 7th opened in June 2021.

Programs and Services

Invention Lab Youth at the Student Showcase

In June 2021, Spark on 7th opened with its first official program, Invention Lab: a five-week, paid experience for high school students to learn skills in the invention process, build technical skills, and gain experience in human-centered design. The goal of Invention Lab is to empower generations of creators, inventors, and leaders in addressing complex issues. For this summer program, students were tasked with creating devices to monitor air quality and CO2 levels in indoor spaces.

Youth presented their inventions to the public on the last day of the program. Not only did they work together to create a working invention and prepare professional presentations, but they also created many friendships and learned to stretch their skills. One day a week was dedicated to enrichment activities including connecting the youth to the outdoors and learning about Afrofuturism.

Invention Club focuses on empowering students to become inventors and to create solutions for the community. Two cohorts of participants attend weekly meetings hosted by advisors and mentors to apply skills like human-centered design and rapid prototyping to their own invention projects. Participants form teams and at the end of the year, each team can enter the Oregon MESA Day competition hosted at Portland State University. Invention Club, including the costs of the trip to Portland, is completely free to students and families.

 

This year we had two Invention Club cohorts attend the MESA Day Showcase at Portland State University on May 20, 2022. The cohort from Willamette High School took second place in the high school division and the team from Hamlin Middle School took first place!

 

Please contact Justin Thibedeau (justin@connectedlane.org) with any questions about Invention Club.

the Agency youth working on a project together

The Agency is a blend of education and work experience in a paid position. This opportunity was extended to previous Invention Lab participants and summer interns who were recognized as taking on intellectual challenges with focus, assertiveness, and a strong sense of responsibility. The first cohort of the Agency consists of 10 interns who meet weekly at Spark on 7th for the full school year. The Agency experience kicks off with interns learning the ins and outs of the tools, machinery, and possibilities within Spark on 7th. From there, the Agency interns apply their new and existing skills toward completing projects submitted by local businesses and nonprofits.

 

This year, the first cohort of the Agency has completed projects for Threadbare Print House, Eugene Symphony, Food for Lane County, the City of Eugene, and EWEB, among others. Check out some of their work in the Student Projects section below.

 

Have an idea for a project for the 22'-23' cohort? Please contact Justin Thibedeau at justin@connectedlane.org.

With the creation of Spark on 7th, we added fee-for-service offerings to generate income for reinvestment into our programming and to engage the community at large. Our fee-for-service offerings at Spark on 7th include birthday party rentals and private events.

 

Birthday Party Rentals: Birthday parties are limited to 10 children. Party-goers will have a two-hour window to experience Spark on 7th, enjoy a hands-on activity, and celebrate. Birthday party rentals start at $300.

 

Private Events & Corporate Team-Building Workshops: Group events are limited to 50 people max. Pricing starts at $500.

Birthday party at SparkLab
Rent Spark on 7th

In addition to rentals and private events, we also offer full-day and two-day workshops scheduled on no-school days for Eugene 4J School District, Springfield School District, & Bethel School District. Income generated from these fee-based workshops will be re-invested into our programming to help us serve those who need us most.

Be sure to check the Spark on 7th calendar below, follow us on social media, or join our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest events.

Workshops at Spark on 7th

Workshops are fun and educational activities for youth scheduled on no-school days. We currently do not have any open workshops on the schedule. Please be sure to follow us on social media or join our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest events.

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Student Projects

Orchid Pots

Agency youth worked with a local client in need of custom-designed orchid pots. The youth went through the engineering design process by interviewing the client to establish needs for the project, then used 3D modeling to design and iterate more functional pots.

Orchid pots designed by the Agency
Youth and mentor hanging coats

Winter Coats

Celeste Peterson from Palo Alto Software volunteered six evenings teaching the Agency youth to fix and replace broken zippers. The youth were able to turn 21 rejected coats donated by the Columbia Factory Store into good-as-new clothing. These winter coats will be donated to unhoused youth.

Custom Picnic Tables

Craig—a high school senior—submitted an Elevate mentorship application seeking a mentor to help him further his woodworking knowledge and experience before graduation. We paired Craig with Mark Bruer of Essex General Construction, Inc. Mark supported Craig by designing and building three picnic tables for Spark on 7th. These picnic tables have already been a valuable addition to Spark on 7th! Nice work Craig and Mark!

Interested in learning more about our mentorship program? Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Picnic Tables at Spark on 7th
Mural at Spark on 7th

Mural for Spark on 7th Lobby

We commissioned Brynn, a former Elevate mentorship participant, to create a mural for the lobby area of Spark on 7th. Using our logo and colors, she created this amazing work of art! We love how it turned out and think it perfectly captures the essence of the space.

Industry-informed

Our industry partners help to prepare students for life after high school by outfitting Spark on 7th with industry-standard tools and equipment, providing mentors, hosting summer interns, and much more!

Our Partners

Get in Touch

Sponsorship & Partnership Inquiries

Interested in sponsoring our Spark program?

Please contact Heidi Larwick at heidi@connectedlane.org for information.

Media Inquiries

Please contact Becky-Jo Samples at beckyjo@connectedlane.org.

Donations

Interested in supporting our Spark program? Donate Today!

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