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Beauty with a Purpose

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Taiesa Lashley represented the US Virgin Islands at Miss world 2012. For her Beauty with a Purpose project, Taiesa highlighted her extensive work in the community through the SPARKS organisation, a community outreach program aimed at marginalized youths vulnerable to negative influences such as gun crime and substance abuse. Below is an account of her work, through her own words and those involved with the SPARKS program.

Students Promoting Awareness, Responsibility, Knowledge & Service, better known as SPARKS, is an organisation within the US Virgin Islands dedicated to creating a healthy social environment while giving back to the community. It’s all about building better citizens.


Within the US Virgin Islands, we are indeed known as America’s paradise. However, we are constantly fighting the rising violence among our youths. Organisations like SPARKS help deter our youths from succumbing to social ills, such as gun violence and drug abuse. Today I want to share with you the importance of this organization within our community.

My Name is Chaquane Clark and I am past member of the sparks program. Right now I’m currently a junior at High Point University and sparks helped to prepare me to reach this endeavour in the fact that it grew me as an adult educationally.
I am Jolesha Chesterfield, a former member of SPARKS. Currently I am a Fashion Design Major at Miami International University of Fashion & Design. Sparks is a youth organization that fosters community service and healthy interaction between the virgin islands youth.
My Name Is Shawn-Michael Malone, a member of the US Virgin Islands Legislature, a proud supporter of the youth programs, and especially those that involve our Miss US Virgin Islands World. ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ is something she has been with for many years, I remember back in 2003 when she was Miss SPARKS. She and I worked together in promoting some of the project programs & activities, and all of their goals and objectives. The Legislature, of which I am a member, passed a resolution honouring this outstanding youth organisation. This organisation has planted a seed in many young people who have gone on to be very productive citizens in all of their different communities. Taiesa in particular, has taken this experience, all the way. Taiesa Lashley, in my mind, has promoted very successfully ‘Beauty with a Purpose’.
In 2003 I competed in a local pageant and won the Miss SPARKS title. That opportunity allowed me to sharpen my public speaking skills as well as network with important people in our community. After that I was able to attend the Johnson & Wales University, utilizing a scholarship I had won. Whilst there, I established another chapter of SPARKS, which happened to be the first chapter that was not within the US Virgin islands. We were immensely successful winning organization of the year, year after year, and also earning me leadership awards at the Johnson & Wales University in North Miami Florida.
The thing about SPARKS that I love the most is that it inspires students to help create a healthy social environment. It gives people a purpose. It helps me to help other people, and at the end of the day I feel better knowing that I have done my best assisting those who are less fortunate as well as creating a healthy social environment. Organisations like SPARKS will always have a place in this world, and it is my dream to one day see this organisation become a national and eventually an international organization as well.

Special Features

Each week, BWP will present a new in-depth report on one of the many charity projects worldwide that has benefitted from the work of Julia Morley and the support of Beauty with a Purpose. Keep watching this space for more details on these special features.

Julia Morley



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