Christy shares her experiences that led to the birth of the dynamic, life-changing Project Sparkle.
For so many of us, we sit on great ideas due to fear, lack of resources, naysayers, etc. In this powerful interview, Christy Tucker, Founder of Project Sparkle will share her experience of pursuing her dreams of providing equality and inclusion for children with disabilities and special needs. Christy shares personal experiences and provides some candid advice. She’s not just a Prom Fairy but she’s a philanthropist at heart and a mentor that we can all learn from. Check out of her interview below.
Tell us more about yourself and the services you provide?
I’m a 33 year old single mother of the most amazing son, Braelyn Tucker. Currently, I’m a licensed PTA in the state of Arkansas and I’m employed by an outpatient physical therapy organization, Fenter Physical Therapy. I provide physical therapy interventions for a variety of physical and mental health conditions in school-aged children within special education. My work is a direct display of my passion for pediatrics. In addition to PTA work, I’m the founder and creator of Project Sparkle, a non-profit organization (pending 501c3 status). Project Sparkle is a foundation dedicated to creating positive platforms for individuals with disabilities and special needs. Project Sparkle looks to promote equality and inclusion, celebrate diversity, and choose love and acceptance. For three years, Project Sparkle’s main event has been “prom come true”. We have successfully provided the ultimate prom experience for high school seniors with disabilities and special needs. Project Sparkle has been able to provide these high school seniors with the experience of a lifetime. All of this was possible with the help of community fundraising and donated services from individuals and businesses.
What ignited your spark to create Project Sparkle?
My passion has always been serving my community and helping others, particularly our youth. Being a physical therapist and having the pleasure of working in the classroom has been my bridge to philanthropy. One of my many purposes is to serve and advocate for individuals with disabilities and special needs. As fate would have it, I was having a conversation with one of my therapy clients and I began to ask her about prom. I asked her how she felt about going. I was taken aback by her response. She didn’t exude the excitement of a high school senior getting ready to embark on one of the most memorable events of her high school days. She just didn’t feel like prom was for her and she expressed her sadness about it. The conversation weighed heavily on my mind for days to come. Three days to be exact. It’s that conversation that planted the seed for Project Sparkle and God provided the vision. Financially, I had no idea how my vision would come to be but I knew that if God provided the vision he would provide the provision. So, Project Sparkle was birthed and the past three years have been phenomenal. It continues to grow year after year.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to chase their dreams while working full-time?
First, find your passions and know what your interests are and pour into yourself. It would be unfair to wake up every day, go to work for someone as they live out their dreams, and you not take time or more time to invest in yourself and pursue your dreams.
Secondly, believe in yourself. Many of us are sitting on our ideas and visions out of fear of the unknown. In the meantime, there is someone, somewhere in need of what God is trying to birth inside of you. Be a blessing to someone by saying YES to what God is calling you to do. Stir up your gifts and get to moving.
Finally, connect yourself with the right individuals. I’m a strong believer in the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”. Connect yourself with positivity and surround yourself with individuals who are growing in success and evolving. It’s important to have people in your life that are motivating, encouraging, and inspiring you to be all that God has called you to be.
What three skills would you say are needed to be successful in pursuing your dreams?
Prayer and faith, patience, and perseverance.
What have you learned from some of your failures?
As I’ve journeyed through life, I’m made some mistakes and poor decisions. I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself in those moments. When I feel like I’ve failed at something, I take that time to reflect and learn from it. None of us are perfect and I believe if we can learn to embrace our failed moments it enables us to avoid making the same mistakes. We learn, grow, and become better people in the process.
What motivates you?
What motivates me most is the thought of how I will be remembered when I leave this earth. I want people to know that I was here and that I made every attempt to touch the hearts of everyone I encountered. When people speak of me I want them to say, “Christy was a creator, a substantial leader. She had a mind of philanthropy and a heart to love and serve selflessly.”
Do you consider yourself successful?
I consider myself evolving. I’m not exactly where I want to be but everyday I’m determined to grow and find ways to improve in every area of my life. I just want to be the best me – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
How do you build a successful customer base?
Communication is key! I work really hard to network and build rapport within my community and surrounding areas. For me, this rapport begins with the children I treat for therapy along with their families. I want them to know that I care and truly value their child’s best interest at heart. I’ve found that people have no problem supporting your efforts when they know your motives are genuine. I also enjoy volunteering my time and supporting others in their endeavors. This alone has opened so many doors and allowed me to connect with people all over.
What makes you happy?
My son, Braelyn. He is by far my greatest inspiration. I never knew how much I could love someone until I became a mother. He is such a testament of God’s faithfulness. Braelyn was born premature at twenty-four weeks, weighing a mere 12.5 ounces and 10 inches long. We have faced and overcome so many challenges together. Even on the toughest days he gives me a reason to smile. He is my everyday reminder of just how blessed we are.
In one word, characterize your life as a mom, philanthropist, and founder of Project Sparkle.
Want to be a blessing and put some sparkle in the lives of youth? You can support Christy’s vision of Project Sparkle with the inaugural Free to Be Me Prom by donating via the GoFundMe link: www.gofundme.com/sparklekids2017. Free to Be Me Prom is being hosted by Christy in conjunction with Author Nicole Williams and her nonprofit organization, A Mother’s Keeper, Inc. Free to Be Me Prom will be held for Midsouth Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs. This event will be a full-scale prom that target ages 16-21 and will take place in April 2017. More information will be provided at a later date.
Big thank you to Christy for sharing her experience and providing advice while pursuing her dreams. #Boss Conversations