The Birmingham Division has selected Cedric D. Sparks, Sr., to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Mr. Sparks is the executive director for the City of Birmingham Mayor's Office-Division of Youth Services (DYS). He was appointed to DYS in 1998 while serving as administrative assistant to the mayor. He was promoted in June 1999 to the position of operations manager. In August 2000, he was named director of operations, and in July 2002, he was appointed executive director of DYS. During his leadership, in 2008 Birmingham was named as one of the 100 best communities for young people in America.
Mr. Sparks also serves as the program facilitator for Project Corporate Leadership, a leadership program designed for high-potential middle managers, sponsored by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Some of his many honors include:
- Named by the Birmingham News as one of the "15 Leaders of the Future"
- Presented by Ebony magazine with a "Top 30 Young Leaders of the Future Award"
- Presented with the Birmingham Business Journal "Top 40 Under 40" Award
- Awarded "Mentor of the Year"
Mr. Sparks serves as president of the Birmingham Chapter of 100 Black Men and also serves on that organization’s National Board of Directors.
Birmingham's DYS programs have grown substantially under Mr. Sparks. He has established several creative programs that have helped nurture the youth in Birmingham, including:
- Caught Doing Good Campaign, which partners with the Birmingham Police Department and the Municipal Court System;
- Spotlight onYouth Television Program, which airs four times a week on a local cable network;
- Programs that Work Awards, which are given to excellent youth service providers; and
- Freeality Check, a program that gives a dose of reality to young people who are making bad choices.