2020 Decisions!

Traditionally, the beginning of May is College Signing Day, a time when high school seniors are encouraged to share and celebrate their post-secondary plans, especially on social media.

However, with COVID-19 disproportionately impacting low-income communities, the path towards higher education for the young people we partner with has become even more challenging.

Some students are facing uncertainty over college decisions, as well as the prospect of virtual-only classes during the upcoming fall semester. Many are also worrying about having their basic needs met — necessitating emergency relief funding for essential things like groceries, utilities, and housing.

Despite all of these unprecedented challenges, our young people at Summer Search continue to show the power and resilience within themselves. The power to be unstoppable as they push forward and pursue their dreams. With unwavering support from their mentors, Summer Searchers are finishing high school and taking the next steps on their journeys… and they deserve to celebrate these milestones!

Summer Searchers Decisions Continue reading 2020 Decisions!

Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

The following is a guest post and reflection from Seattle Summer Searcher Jessica Par, a junior at University of Washington Seattle pursuing Education. This was originally shared as part of Summer Search Seattle’s Unstoppable Campaign.


Being a part of Summer Search has changed my life. As a first-generation college student, and coming from a refugee background, I was so lost during high school. But Summer Search was able to provide me structure, while supporting me with resources and authentic mentorship. My Summer Search mentor plays such a critical role in my life that I’m not sure where I’d be without her. From talking about academic issues to professional development to personal matters, she has always been there for me.

Jessica ParJessica Par.

Continue reading Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

Adapting to Support Our Community

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO.


Dear Summer Search Community,

I hope this note finds you and yours healthy and doing well. I’m writing to share what is happening in our network and how the talented and committed Summer Search team is responding to the needs of our students, alumni, and staff.

Since our last community message in March, our students and their families have experienced lost jobs, food insecurity, and housing crises, in addition to a sense of isolation that comes from sheltering in place.

Now more than ever, students need to know they are not alone. Continue reading Adapting to Support Our Community

Quarantine Bingo: Summer Search Edition

Looking for a fun way to take part in some well-being activities while social distancing? Check out Summer Search’s Survive & Thrive Bingo!

Summer Search Bingo cardSee full-sized Bingo card and instructions below.

This game was developed by Zavi Smith, Summer Search Bay Area Program Manager, in collaboration with several other mentors on the Bay Area and National teams. It’s one of the many ways our mentors have been getting creative as they continue to support our students while working remotely. Continue reading Quarantine Bingo: Summer Search Edition

Alumnus Helps Former Teacher During COVID Crisis

“We managed to get on what turned out to be one of the last flights leaving the country… By the end of the day all borders of the country were closed. No one in or out. Vasny saved us!”

Vasny Maldonado was nominated to apply for Summer Search by his teacher, Jan Hudson, at Mission High School in San Francisco in 1996. In present day, during the outbreak of the coronavirus, the two were reunited in an unexpected, yet meaningful way. But first, back to 1996…

Vasny Wilderness Summer ProgramVasny Maldonado during one of his summer experiences.

Continue reading Alumnus Helps Former Teacher During COVID Crisis

Mentoring During a Pandemic

A month ago, it was business as usual.

Across our five regions, our staff mentors were busy welcoming new sophomores into Summer Search and supporting our juniors and seniors with their post-secondary planning, while our communities celebrated together in the Bay Area and New York City.

Then everything changed. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world and is disproportionately affecting our most under-resourced communities.

In these vulnerable and unpredictable times, Summer Search remains committed to supporting our young people and their families. Our staff is finding innovative ways to continue to provide mentoring — offering a much-needed safe space for our students to process, explore, and relate to what is happening in the world.

Staying Connected

BA_Zoom_Group_logoBay Area students on a Group Mentoring video chat, led by mentor Gabrielle.

Continue reading Mentoring During a Pandemic

Being a Nurse on the Front Lines of COVID-19

Summer Search reached out to Seattle alumna Lisa Blechschmidt, a registered nurse working in the Pacific Northwest. She reflects on her role as a nurse, what’s changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and offers advice to help the community stay safe.

Name: Lisa Blechschmidt

Site: Summer Search Seattle

Summer Search Trips:
1) Outward Bound in Moab, Utah.
2) VISIONS on the Blackfoot Reservation in Montana.

Current Position: Registered Nurse

Lisa_NurseLisa Blechschmidt (right), registered nurse and Summer Search Seattle alumna.

Continue reading Being a Nurse on the Front Lines of COVID-19

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