Hero Spark is a nerd-nonprofit that teaches kids how to learn through unplugged games and gaming.

Through our programming, we take strategic board and role-playing games and infuse them with a social-emotional curriculum so that our students can understand that learning is a life-long, fun endeavor.

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Who is Hero Spark?

Hero Spark is an Orlando-based nerd-nonprofit that teaches kids how to learn through unplugged games and gaming.

What is Hero Spark’s Mission?

Hero Spark gives its students the tools and agency needed to make new friends and pursue life-long passions in games and learning. We believe that gaming provides multiple ways to learn, helping each individual student find the right path for themselves. When kids gather around a gaming table, great things happen!

What ignited Hero Spark?

Our founder, Phil Zoshak, discovered gaming in his youth. It sparked his interest in learning and helped him grow. Phil identifies with the kids he interacts with because he says he was just like them at 14. He struggled socially and didn’t have many friends. He wasn’t confident in his educational aptitude and his grades showed it.

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He eventually joined a group outside of the virtual world when a friend from high school invited him to play with her Dungeons & Dragons crew. When they finished playing, he would go home and write what took place during that day’s adventure. He realized that the game was spurring an interest in creative writing as well as helping his mental math and vocabulary improve. Suddenly, in the classes he was previously failing, he was now not just passing, but excelling in with A’s.

Moreover, the social behavior he picked up through online gaming was now being applied to face-to-face interactions. He started making eye contact with the other gamers and talked through challenges and problems as they arose in the game.

“These are all skills as an adult I needed and didn’t have at the time,” he says. “When you triumph through a challenge, whether it is imaginary or real, you bond with people. They became my big group of friends.”

Although he didn’t know it at the time, he was setting up the foundation for what would later become his life’s work.