MEET THE SPARK INITIATIVE TEAM
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA
President, Chief Executive Officer
813-662-6920 Ext. 102
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA, is the President/CEO of The SPARK Initiative, Inc. – a non-profit organization in Tampa, FL. dedicated to working with youth, sex trafficking survivors, and incarcerated men and women. She is the creator and co-author of the evidence-based and CASEL approved, SPARK Mentoring Programs which are currently being taught to 1000’s of children in Hillsborough County and around the world. Prior to her work with The SPARK Initiative, she was a national trainer for the Mendez Foundation’s nationally recognized Too Good for Drugs and Violence prevention programs. After her brother in law’s suicide in early 2012, Brooke knew there was more to the mind than she understood. She found her home with The SPARK Initiative after watching her husband come out of a deep depression with seemingly little effort through a simple but profound understanding of the mind. She now dedicates her work to creating sustainable change throughout all populations via mentoring, coaching, and teaching this same understanding of the mind. In 2019, after a 2-year process, she and her husband adopted her niece and two nephews through the foster care system. Brooke works daily to advocate for the protection and resilience of child victims of abuse and promote suicide prevention by reaching young people’s minds and teaching them about their unbreakable SPARK inside.
Brooke lives in Florida with her husband Will and their 5 children.
Ashley Hunt is The SPARK Initiative’s Director of Program Development, Youth Mentor and Co-Creator of the S.P.A.R.K. Mentoring curricula (Speaking to the Potential, Ability and Resilience inside Kids). After seeing her personal relationships transform through an understanding of the mind in 2015, she left her 11-year corporate career in insurance to pursue her passion for educating youth.
She now works as an integral part of the development, coordination and implementation of S.P.A.R.K. curriculum and training events in our own community and around the world. Ashley brings an understanding of the mind to life with her natural ability to connect with the youth she mentors. Ashley lives in Tampa, FL with her husband Justin and two children.
Nicole Wilson is The SPARK Initiative’s Community Programs Coordinator and Youth Mentor. Nicole is responsible for organizing and planning with representatives and organizations in the community & mentoring the youth to further The SPARK Initiative’s mission.
Prior to her work here, Nicole was an Elementary School Student Aid for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Because she is passionate about working with youth, Nicole believes she is right where she belongs with sharing this understanding of the mind to children in her community.
Jena Travise is The SPARK Initiative’s Research and Evaluation Coordinator and Youth Mentor. Jena works with our youth locally, teaching the S.P.A.R.K curriculum, and mentoring students one-on-one. After noticing her own capabilities and compassion increase naturally through an understanding of the mind, Jena gained a passion, that comes alive in the classroom, to guide youth to see their truest potential. When not leading classes, she is responsible for collecting, organizing, and measuring data around the growth and understanding of the mind within our youth from the beginning of the S.P.A.R.K. Mentoring Program to the end.
Prior to her work with The SPARK Initiative, Jena spent 4 years as an enlisted member of The United States Air Force. In her free time, you can find her coaching and managing local youth soccer. Jena lives in Florida with her husband Chris and their two children.
Director of Education and Partnerships
Stephanie Fox is The Spark Initiative’s Director of Education and Partnerships where she focuses on increasing the impact of Sparks’ programs. She is also the co-creator of The Adventures of Curious the Dragonfly, a suite of educational products used in 15+ countries, now being offered in partnership with Spark’s programs that she co-created. Stephanie is passionate about equipping children, youth, parents, and educators with the knowledge and skills contained in Spark’s programs to unleash their full potential and bring about peace, prosperity, and sustainability in the process
Prior to her focus on SEL education and coaching, Stephanie enjoyed a career as a humanitarian and international development professional living 12 years in the Middle East where she launched the region’s first UN educational satellite TV channel. In her early career, she was an English teacher and Director of Studies in Spain.
Shifra Rosenblatt Chesler studied at London’s One Thought Practitioners’ Training Institute and then completed a BA in Childhood and Youth Studies. Shifra loves teaching an understanding of the mind with all kinds of people, but with several years’ background as a primary school teacher (and informally incorporating an understanding of the mind into her teaching), she’s grown to become particularly passionate about sharing this understanding with children and youth. Shifra co-founded Three Principles Jerusalem in 2015, and now lives with her husband and daughter in Jerusalem, Israel where she enjoys facilitating further teaching and learning of the Principles, as well as developing the S.P.A.R.K. Mentoring curricula for the SPARK Initiative.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Cally Catania Bekhor, Esq.- Cally E. Catania, P.A., Hillsborough County
Treasurer: Bruce Mitchell, Retired from Risser Oil
Members: Ron McVety- FACTS Engineering