Following her father’s lead

Published 6:16 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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The Elephant’s Fork Civic League is providing Zoleka Sparks the opportunity to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Sparks is stepping into the role as the league’s new president, 14 years after the passing of her father, Persie Stagg, who was founding president of the organization.

In a Wednesday interview, Sparks shared her passion for the community and the Elephant’s Fork Civic League.

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She said it is definitely surreal having this opportunity.

“When my father, Persie Stagg, served as president of the civic league, I was by his side as his assistant. I was able to see how he embraced the Elephant’s Fork community and why,” Sparks said. “He was born and raised in Elephant’s Fork, so his love for the community ran deep for him as well as wanting his family to enjoy the community as he did.”

Because of this, she said, her father was driven to assist the Elephant’s Fork community in evolving into a modern, close-knit one.

“In his passing 14 years ago, I was able to meet the many lives he touched through his work,” Sparks said.

The Elephant’s Fork Civic League has been working on creating a network within the neighborhoods over the past year because Elephant’s Fork is large and has several communities.

“Creating committees like our safety committee ensures that as a neighbor, we can come together and watch out for each other and the community,” she explained. “In the future, I would like to be able for the civic league to have more events for our kids and teens in the community.”

Sparks said she hopes to keep the Elephant’s Fork community safe and vibrant and bring the residents together so they can be proud to pass down their properties to their children.

She said she also hopes this will encourage them to stay in the Elephant’s Fork community.

The civic league is always seeking new members and volunteers, she said.

How would one interested in the civic league inquire or join? Sparks said anyone can inquire by email to or leave a message at 757-774-7527. “We will have our first meetings in the spring,” she said.

She has always had a love for community, noting it started when she was young.

“Being a secretary for my father fueled that passion,” Sparks said. “In everything I do, I am of service in every aspect of my life.”

Her passion has led her to help create social clubs and to serve on boards of nonprofit organizations.

Sparks has worked in the community as a business consultant for more than 25 years.

She is currently board president for Dress for Success Hampton Roads, a board member of Hampton Roads Black Nonprofit Alliance, brand manager for Curvy Girls USA and administrator for Black Land Buying Movement.

“My interests center around anything that involves beauty and acting,” Sparks said. “I am currently cast in an upcoming series in Atlanta.”