Category Archives: Mentoring

Making Summer Transformative – A Mentor’s Perspective

The following is a guest post written by members of our Summer Search Bay Area team, as part of their Summer Experience Challenge campaign.


Summer 2019 is off and running! At Summer Search, this means we’ve got 1,000 young people scattered across the country and the world on powerful experiential journeys.

It’s not only an exciting time for our students, but also for our staff! We sat down with a few members of our Summer Search Bay Area team to learn what goes into preparing for a summer experience, and what makes these trips truly transformative for our young people.

In our conversation, we explore how mentors and summer programs staff work together to equip students with agency, efficacy, and a sense of expansiveness from the moment they join Summer Search and through the years of mentorship that follow. Read more to see powerful examples of each and learn how Summer Search’s mentoring supports our students in integrating these profound experiences into their lives.

Introduce yourself!

Bay Area Summer Program MentorsFrom left to right, top to bottom: Summer Search mentors Brian Mertens, Yining Chiu, Mira Fielding, and Nicol Gaffney.

Continue reading Making Summer Transformative – A Mentor’s Perspective

Teamwork Makes the (College) Dream Work

“When I got the call about getting into the Posse program, the first thing I did was cry — but they were not tears of sadness, they were tears of happiness, relief, excitement, and accomplishment. The first person I told was my mother. I told her ‘Mom, I’m going to college!‘ before crying again and hugging her tightly.”

Saira-and-MomSaira Carreto (left) and her Mother at a ceremony with the Posse Foundation.

Continue reading Teamwork Makes the (College) Dream Work

Arsel Perez: Finding His Path

There’s a popular saying that “the path to success is not a straight line.” At Summer Search, we support our young people on their journeys to success, which can indeed take many different pathways, twists, and turns.

Arsel Perez is deeply committed to helping his family, while also striving to find his “dream career” and securing his own successful future.

Arsel-2016-NB-DinnerArsel Perez speaking at the 2016 Summer Search North Bay Dinner.

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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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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.

Continue reading My Mentors; My Mirrors