Category Archives: Alumni

Building More Equitable and Inclusive Workplaces

Black History Month offers us the opportunity to reflect on our country’s history of racial inequality, honor leaders of color, and continue to drive progress towards a more equitable society. At Summer Search, we keep Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) at the forefront of our conversations and work all year long, so our staff, students, alumni, and board are equipped to be ED&I change-makers in their own communities.

A few months ago, Summer Search held an Industry Leadership Panel on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at our National Alumni Summit and Leadership Conference, a multi-day convening of nearly 300 Summer Search alumni to connect, learn, and network. The panel discussion offered alumni the chance to hear from three industry leaders about the opportunities and challenges in building more equitable and inclusive workplaces.

EDI PanelistsFrom left to right: Monica Parham, Bernard Guinyard, Antoine Andrews, and Marie Pierre.

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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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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

Going the Distance for Summer Search

We’re grateful for all of our supporters at Summer Search. No matter how they show their support — from making a donation, to volunteering their time, or simply following us on social media — they are helping us provide the opportunities and resources needed for our young people to succeed.

Well, in just a few weeks, a handful of active supporters will be running in the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon and raising money for Summer Search!

In fact, for the first time, Summer Search New York City is an official charity partner of this prestigious race, which takes place Sunday, November 4. The 26.2 mile course goes through all five of NYC’S boroughs and includes more than 50,000 runners from around the world!

2018 TCS New York City Marathon Continue reading Going the Distance for Summer Search

Making a Difference: Summer Search to the Peace Corps

“My experience with Summer Search pushed me to believe in myself and realize I am capable of more than I know. The Summer Search family truly saw my potential even when I did not, and when a young person realizes that there are people who are rooting for them, that can make all the difference.”

That’s Dalia Martin Del Campo, a Summer Search Bay Area alumna who is currently making a difference in Peru as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV).

Dalia-Machu-PicchuDalia Martin Del Campo at Machu Picchu in Peru.

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Voices of Summer Search 2018

“Imagine a world where every single person gets to be their best selves. Would that not be the best world to live in?”

At Summer Search, we are all about changing narratives and helping young people find their voices so that they can — as Summer Search Seattle alumna Marie refers to above — become their best selves.

Watch Marie, Justin, Elebetel, Jahlil, and Cynthia share about their journeys toward success in our new Voices of Summer Search video:

Continue reading Voices of Summer Search 2018