This Mom Is On A Mission To Make Schools Safer For Kids
Before parents had to worry about masks and mandates, the rising level of school shootings in America was nothing short of frightening. According to Everytown For Gun Safety, an estimated 3 million children in the U.S. are exposed to shootings each year (with at least 82 incidents of gunfire on school grounds this year alone). Mom and entrepreneur Tizzie Nuss decided she'd had enough. The creator of the SPARK Shield, a lightweight and customizable folder that kids can use as protection in the event of a school safety threat, shares how she found the right people to help her bring her idea to life through networking.
B + C: What inspired you to take action and start The Spark Project?
One school shooting is too many. Period. As a mom, I continued to see these heartbreaking events happen and felt helpless. But the thought of trying to create something to protect kids felt too complex for me to tackle. That was until 2017, when I got my last sign – the day I lost my eyesight. That day and the two days that followed were the scariest days of my life. I promised God that I would never question my calling again. So, when my vision came back (it was diagnosed as an infection], I got to work and have been on a mission to protect our kids ever since.
B + C: What challenges have you faced along the way?
Not having any experience in bringing a product to life felt intimidating at times. Beyond that, I didn't know a thing about the ballistics industry, which felt confusing and overwhelming. But we can do hard things, right? So I started researching. And networking. And figuring out the next best step every day.
B + C: What were some strategies for overcoming those challenges?
Thankfully I met a ballistics expert from The Ohio State University who really changed everything. From finding the right material to testing it, he guided me and still does today. I also think my faith has helped me overcome every challenge.
B + C: What have been some of your successes so far?
I launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2020 that raised over $27,000 — and confirmed that other people believe in this mission and product. Birthing the SPARK™ Shield during a global pandemic was tough, but we made it happen. And leaving a successful career in HR to go all in on this was the most terrifying thing I've ever done, but I did it anyway.
B + C: How do you stay motivated? Who inspires you?
This world can feel pretty scary at times; I can't imagine how hard it must feel for our kids. Every morning I get up knowing that if I can help keep them safe and give parents a sense of security, I'm doing something to help. I'm inspired by Sara Blakely, Blake Mycoskie, and of course Brit. I'm so inspired by each of them for different reasons, but absolutely love how each one has a clear passion for helping entrepreneurs.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
GO! Take that step forward, follow your passion, and trust to your gut.
B + C: What is next for The Spark Project?
We are super focused on engaging parents and developing a nationwide community around our cause. A community that has had enough, that wants more for our kids, and that stands together to spark positive change.