Menu Close

Welcome to SPARK!

SPARK stands for Senior Peers Actively Renewing Knowledge.  We are a lifelong learning organization that offers adult education classes and events for our members. We are a non-profit organization with over 200 members and an affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. SPARK has been providing adult educational classes in the Kansas City area since 1993.

Our Mission

SPARK’s mission is to provide life-long learning opportunities through intellectually stimulating cultural and social experiences which enhance the quality of life for SPARK members.

Who Are We?

SPARK is a group of active retirees with a passion for learning, meeting new people, sharing time and experiences, and pursuing an active stimulating life.

Participating in SPARK provides an opportunity for active retirees to continue to learn and expand their interests through classes, book groups, local tours and other activities offered throughout the year. SPARK is a volunteer organization that relies on the participation of members to promote and achieve its mission.


SPARK’s philosophy since 1994 has been to provide  at a modest cost, learning and social experiences for participants. There are no per-requisites, test, or grades for the classes we offer.

Classes are held four semesters a year, two hours a week for between two to six weeks. The SPARK Office and classrooms are located at 4825 Troost, Room 214D on the UMKC campus.  We will be moving to the first floor in March!  Watch here for an update.


SPARK, as an affiliate of the University of Missouri, is supported by the intellectual, cultural, and administrative resources of the University.

Our History

SPARK had its beginnings in the summer of 1993 and offered classes on the campus of Penn Valley Community College for the next four years.  As Penn Valley was growing,  they had a need for the space we were using. SPARK began looking for options for the organization.

In the spring of 1997, SPARK entered into an affiliation agreement with the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Arts and Science Department of UMKC became SPARK’s official sponsor. There were obvious benefits to both parties. UMKC would have a thriving Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) on campus and SPARK would have a collegiate environment and the intellectual and cultural resources of the university. SPARK continues to share this relationship with UMKC.  By its 10th anniversary SPARK became a non-profit corporation under 501-C 3 tax status. In 2019, we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary and continuing to provide lifelong learning opportunities and social events for active adults in the Kansas City area.

Our Organization

SPARK is a volunteer organization, which means that SPARK relies on its members for the continued success and growth of the organization. SPARK employs a part-time office coordinator and bookkeeper, but program leadership and implementation of the mission, goals, and objectives of the organization are carried out by the membership.