In September, we gave you a preview of our new digital portal for Summer Search students, alumni, staff, board members, and external partners. Last month, we officially kicked off CONNECT with a week of fun activities and contests to welcome our community to the platform.
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.
“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.
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.
At Summer Search, we’re all about relationships and opportunities, providing our young people with mentoring, opportunities for growth, and access to professional networks. At the same time, our community of staff and supporters also benefit tremendously from the connections made with Summer Searchers.
As we continue to evolve to better meet the needs of our students, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re launching a brand new tool that will connect our entire community like never before.
It’s called Summer Search CONNECT.
This is a new digital portal for Summer Search students, alumni, staff, board members, and our external partners. CONNECT will be a place for:
Year after year, the young people we partner with work tremendously hard to complete their goals and take the next steps in their journeys. They’re studying and passing exams, graduating and matriculating to new campuses and cities, and starting or advancing their careers… all while navigating systemic barriers and inequity.
In 2020, add a global pandemic and repeated, very public, reminders of racial violence and injustice to that list of obstacles.
But Summer Searchers persevere and thrive!
Recent grad and Seattle alumna Ehler Tha Win took some time to answer a few questions about her experience transitioning from college to career and shares how she believes people can support each other during these unprecedented times.
As part of its “California Today” column, The New York Times profiled four members of this historic freshman class — discussing being part of a major shift in UC system and about starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And two of those featured students are Summer Searchers — Mariana and Dora from the Bay Area!
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
While the last few months have truly been confusing and heartbreaking, we remain inspired by the hope embodied by our young people, as they quickly adapt to a pandemic and stand up against social injustice. Again and again, Summer Search students show resilience and determination as they pursue their education and seek new opportunities to grow, thrive, and become the next generation of purpose-driven leaders.
Last month, we shined a light on a handful of Summer Searchers in the Class of 2020 who were celebrating their post-secondary decisions. Today we’re checking in with three more high school seniors: Anjaliyah, Jason, and Rasmee.
Social injustice and racial inequalities must come to an end. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock and too many other Black people are acts of terror.
We know these senseless deaths have caused great pain and angst for all Summer Searchers and have had an especially traumatic impact on our black-identifying students, staff, and community members.
In times of crisis, everyone reacts differently — from speaking out, to reflecting inward, and everything in between. We wanted to spotlight how a few folks in our Summer Search family have responded publicly — from expressing their emotions, rallying their communities, sharing resources, and much more.
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!