All posts by Summer Search

Summer Search is a national youth development organization that helps students from low-income backgrounds strengthen the skills and character traits they need to become college-educated leaders.

A Gift of Love to Summer Search

“When we thought about what was most important to us in bringing our family and friends together for our wedding, Summer Search just had to be included.”

Jacqueline Green has been a long-time Summer Search supporter, a champion of corporate responsibility, and a key member of the Summer Search Bay Area Board of Directors. When she and her partner David Newman got married three years ago, they asked their guests to join them in supporting Summer Search by making a donation, in lieu of wedding gifts.

Jacqueline and DaveJacqueline and Dave.

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The Power of Peer Mentoring

The following is a guest post written by Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO. It was originally published by our partners at MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.


The benefits of mentoring for young people are significant and well-established – youth development research shows that quality mentoring relationships with a caring adult have powerful positive effects on young people’s educational, personal, and professional situations, especially for young people who face an opportunity gap. For nearly 30 years, Summer Search has provided 1:1 mentoring with trained staff mentors to high school and college students from underserved communities. While our student outcomes have supported the effectiveness of 1:1 mentoring, our students said they wanted more opportunities to build community with each other. Continue reading The Power of Peer Mentoring

My Mentors; My Mirrors

The following is a guest post written by KishaLynn Moore Elliott — certified coach, author, and Summer Search Boston alumna — for National Mentoring Month.


Mentorship is the first of many gifts that every Summer Searcher unwraps on their journey as a student. My Summer Search mentor, Jay Jacobs, interviewed and accepted me into the Boston program in 1997, when I was a junior at Dorchester High School.

At the time, I was desperate to be rescued from my life struggles and sent as far away from home as possible. But Jay knew he wasn’t there to rescue me. Rather, as a mentor his job was to help me access my potential to carve my own path in the world, and to hold me accountable for walking on it. Jay’s tender-tough love helped me mature that summer, and grow in ways that I needed. These days we joke about being “frenemies”, but I take deep pride in claiming Jay as my Summer Search mentor.

KishaLynn and JayThe only known photo to exist of Jay and I.

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Mentors Changed the Course of My Life

The following is a guest post written by Anna Brittain, Summer Search Bay Area alumna, for National Mentoring Month.


I remember the first time I met Joan McDonald. She had a bouffant of grey-white hair, like she’d never quite made it out of the 1960s, and soft kind eyes. It was 1997. I was 15 years old and a sophomore at St. Helena High School. I was stepping into a small room filled with warm fall light to do an interview with Joan and Linda Mornell (founder of Summer Search). My high school counselor, Bruce Frank, who nominated me for the program, was standing just outside. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I sat down facing these two older women. Linda looked at me intensely and Joan smiled encouragingly. Linda asked something along the lines of, “What is it like to walk in your shoes?” And I broke down.

anna-brittain-fieldsAnna Brittain.

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Mohamed Abdi: Soaring in Seattle

The following is a guest post co-written by Summer Search Seattle mentors Therese Williams and De’Andre Jones, showcasing the accomplishments of one of their students for National Mentoring Month.


Mohamed Abdi, College Success Year 3 Student, is soaring to new heights!

Mohamed has been actively engaged in the Seattle community for most of his life. He understands the importance of advocacy, not only for himself but for others in his community, to successfully navigate through systemic barriers. His awareness of his own intersectional identities as first-generation, Somali, Muslim, male, eldest son, entrepreneur, and mentor are just a few of the many reasons he is serving as a trailblazer for his family.

Mohamed quotePhoto and quote from a feature on Mohamed by WE Charity.

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Thank You United

Through a combination of mentoring and transformative experiences, Summer Search takes a holistic, long-term approach to supporting young people to thrive.

During the summer after sophomore and junior years of high school, our students receive scholarships to go on experiential education programs, ranging from wilderness expeditions, to academic programs, to international service trips. These experiences broaden students’ view of themselves and provide the opportunity to partner with their mentor to learn from their triumphs and setbacks. This reflective process allows Summer Searchers to strengthen the skills and mindsets needed to succeed in school, work, and in life.

2018-Summer-coverSummer Search students participating in experiential education programs this past summer.

Each summer, we send nearly 1,000 students to destinations all over the world, which means we need to book a lot of flights! Continue reading Thank You United

#Snapshot: Summer Search Bronx Mentoring Center

Welcome to another edition of #Snapshot, where we bring you a glimpse of what’s going on at Summer Search.

Summer Search New York City’s Bronx Mentoring Center is officially open!

Bronx-studentsSummer Search New York City Program Associate Stephanie Zapata (back) with students from the South Bronx in the new Summer Search Bronx Mentoring Center.

Continue reading #Snapshot: Summer Search Bronx Mentoring Center