Tag Archives: COVID-19

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.
Continue reading First-Time Voters

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.

Continue reading Going Back To School in 2020

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.

Continue reading Summer Reimagined: 2020 Highlights

Graduating into a Pandemic

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.

Continue reading Graduating into a Pandemic

Black Lives Matter: Our Work Has Just Begun

At Summer Search, we designed our Black Lives Matter Community Series to come together to heal, learn together, and discuss how we all can take action to create a world where all young people can thrive.

Our first session, a Community Healing Vigil, filled our hearts with hope.

Our second session focused on education and attracted external experts who provided us with critical answers to poignant questions. 

Our third session offered ideas and strategies from the fields of education and psychology on how to move forward towards a just and equitable society

Watch highlights from our full Black Lives Matter series »

As we conclude the series, we thank each and every one who joined us in community as we came together in this moment. We invite you to read some of the remarks, resources, and highlights from the past few months.

Continue reading Black Lives Matter: Our Work Has Just Begun

Stories From A Historic Class

For the first time in the University of California (UC) system’s history, Chicano or Latino students made up the greatest share of Californians admitted to the freshman class, at 36%.

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!

Screenshots of two Summer Searchers featured in The New York Times.

Continue reading Stories From A Historic Class

Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

At the outset of the summer, as it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic would mean that travel wasn’t going to be possible, we made the decision that we would not send our young people on our traditional summer experiences in 2020.

So, while the coronavirus may have changed our summer plans, it hasn’t stopped us from finding ways to provide our students opportunities for connection, reflection, and growth.

Thanks to the hard work and creativity of our incredible staff, dedicated volunteers, and summer partners, we are offering online/digital programming that connects students to internships, post-secondary exploration, cultural exchange, as well as workshops on financial well-being and more.

And summer is already underway!

Continue reading Summer Reimagined: Global Glimpse

Change is Coming

Last week, Summer Search students, alumni, staff, and supporters gathered together digitally for the second installment in our Black Lives Matter Community Series.

As Summer Search CEO Marc Spencer stated at the opening of the program, “Our purpose in this three-part Black Lives Matter series is to come together during this important moment to heal, learn together, and discuss how we can take action to create a world where all young people can thrive.”

Education and learning was the focus of this event, holding space to discuss how systemic racism shows up in the many facets of our lives.

Continue reading Change is Coming

Navigating the COVID-19 Job Market

How do you find a job when the world is grappling with a global pandemic and a rapidly-changing employment and economic landscape where more than 40 million people are out of work?

A few months ago we brought together a panel of Summer Search alumni and partners to tackle that question from a few different angles:

  • Naming the challenges that recent college graduates and early-career professionals are facing in the job market,
  • Sharing ways that Summer Searchers can adapt to the new reality and make themselves stand out to employers,
  • And discussing how our community as a whole can support each other, and our young people.

Graduating Into Uncertainty: Supporting Young People Navigating the Job Market

Continue reading Navigating the COVID-19 Job Market

A Vigil For Healing

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

— excerpt from Lift Every Voice & Sing


In recent weeks, our community, like so many others, has been mourning, taking action, and trying to heal.

This inspired an idea to truly bring the Summer Search community together, offering a space to honor George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, and the ever-growing list of Black and Brown people who have died because of violence and racism.

Envisioned by Sylvia Watts McKinney, Summer Search Philadelphia Executive Director, and supported by Hermese Velasquez (Boston ED and alumna), Kris Leja (Bay Area ED), and many others across our network, our team moved quickly to create a Community Vigil Series — a three-part series of virtual events to come together focusing on healing, education, and action. Continue reading A Vigil For Healing