SPARK™ After-School Program

SPARK™ (Sport-Play-Active-Recreation-for-Kids) is an evidence-based program designed to promote daily activity, emphasizing health related fitness for youth ages 5-14 during after-school time.

United Way of Metropolitan Nashville utilizes the SPARK™ program alongside internal, trained staff members to facilitate structured activity during the after-school time to reach the goal of 60 minutes of movement each day.

Recently, the Coordinated School Health data found that 17.1% of students in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are considered overweight, and 21.5% are considered obese. Research shows that these children are at a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and more. To combat this, youth enrolled in the program receive four fitness assessments using the FITNESSGRAM® comprehensive tool to measure cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, muscle endurance and flexibility. This structured program allows youth to engage in meaningful after-school activities that promote lifelong healthy habits.

In addition to physical activity, youth benefit from a healthy eating program. Families living in the United Way Family Resource Center communities lack access to food; 18.1% of Davidson County residents are food insecure and 22.1% of children are food insecure. These programs offer a variety of options such as after-school snacks, take-home snacks, take-home meals for the entire family, on-site family meals, teaching kitchens and grocery vouchers. The healthy eating program promotes exposure and accessibility to nutritious options made possible by partnerships with the Nashville Food Project and promotes family mealtime.


The SPARK™ program is currently available at 4 United Way Family Resource Centers:

Bethlehem Centers
1417 Charlotte Ave.
Nashville, TN 37203

South Nashville
4928 Edmondson Pike
Nashville, TN 37211

Salvation Army
611 Stockell St.
Nashville, TN 37207

St. Luke’s
5601 New York Ave.
Nashville, TN 37209

Success Stories

Faces of Success: Reginald Holmes Faces of Success: Reginald Holmes Reginald Holmes has come full circle in his support of United Way's SPARK program, from originally being enrolled to working for the company that funds in-part the program that gave him so much. Read More
Faces of Success: Eric Paull Faces of Success: Eric Paull Eric Paull is a survivor of sexual abuse and has overcome many obstacles with the help of the Sexual Assault Center. Read more about Eric's tragic childhood and how he has used the tools given to him by the Sexual Assault Center not only to survive but to thrive. Read More
Faces of Success: Lisa Jones Faces of Success: Lisa Jones More than 1,500 at-risk Nashville mothers are now able to provide a healthy start for their babies, thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee Titans and United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. Read More
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