First-Time Voters

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO, featuring a Q&A from two Summer Search participants who are voting for the first time.


The noise and tension around the upcoming election can feel overwhelming, especially in light of the difficult moment we are in. I’m writing this as yet another death has occurred in the Black community — Walter Wallace, Jr. in Philadelphia — by police use of excessive force.

Amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, the uprisings against police violence, the climate crisis, and an economic crisis, we are facing decisions that will impact us, and the young people we partner with, for years to come.

As I know this community is aware of, voting — for president, for local councilperson, for judges, and every elected position and proposition in between — is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. It’s a moment where each of us can lift our voices and our power.

Voter ID resource from When We All Vote and Vote Riders. See more resources at the bottom of this story.
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Creating an Inclusive and Innovative Community

An inclusive community works as a team to offer resources and works hard to improve the quality of life of its members.”
Jess H., Summer Search Philadelphia alumna.

Last month, the Summer Search community gathered together to discuss and answer the central question: How do we create an inclusive and innovative community?

This conversation was led by Summer Search Philadelphia, who re-imagined their annual event to meet the moment and the movement of 2020, reflecting the desire for all of us in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors to pursue profound and sustainable change.

The format of the discussion was a Charrette, a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and design solutions, featuring voices of Philadelphia students, alumni, board members, staff, and key business leaders.

Summer Search Philadelphia student and alumni speakers: Amarion, Jess, Sianni, and Cesar.
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Going Back To School in 2020

We’re running out of ways to talk about how unprecedented and unpredictable 2020 has been. So, let’s hear from the Summer Search community.

Last month, Seattle alumna Ehler Tha Win shared her perspective on graduating college into a world facing a pandemic and racial injustice.

Today, we’re excited to share two voices from our high school community — Summer Searchers who are going back to school and navigating COVID challenges and tensions around racial and social issues.

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Summer Reimagined: 2020 Highlights

“Although we may not have been able to go on our trips, I still did a lot of self-discovery and completed my goals.”


Thanks to the dedication, imagination, and innovation of our entire Summer Search community, we were able to completely change our 2020 summer plans to keep our community safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, across our entire network, our young people were able to choose from a wide variety of online programs that promoted some of the same outcomes as our traditional in-person/travel-based summer experiences — agency and educational attainment.

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Prop 16: Making Equity a Reality

At Summer Search, our staff and participants are passionate about achieving racial equity and liberation and strongly believe that everyone has the right to succeed in the path they choose for themselves.

As part of this commitment, we are proud to endorse Proposition 16 on the California ballot this fall alongside more than 400 community organizations, businesses, and local elected officials.

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