Tag Archives: guestpost

One Chance to Make Change

The following is a guest post written by Niles Xi’an Lichtenstein, entrepreneur and Summer Search Bay Area alumnus. It was originally shared at a Summer Search fundraising event. Lightly edited and shared with permission.


Hi everyone, I’m Niles Lichtenstein, a Summer Search Bay Area alum.

Niles Lichtenstein

While ‘Summer Search Alum’ is an amazing title to have, perhaps the best title I’ve recently received was the title of ‘Dad’ to my wonderful daughter Genevieve, who we call ‘Evie’.

Evie was born 11 months ago and upon her birth, my mother, as she smiled at a future generation strong female, said something profound to me. She said that “having a granddaughter felt like having a second chance.”

“A second chance for what?” I asked her.

“A second chance to give Evie all the things I couldn’t always give you,” she replied. Continue reading One Chance to Make Change

Behind The Scenes: Intern Edition

The following is a guest post written by Yarelie Magallon, an intern on the Summer Search National Marketing team.


Hi everyone! My name is Yarelie Magallon and I’ve spent my summer as a Marketing Intern working at Summer Search’s national office in San Francisco. Throughout the course of the summer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with a number of Summer Search staff, including two other Summer Search interns, and I noticed something: all three of us (interns) have a similar background and had no previous affiliation with Summer Search, yet we were drawn to join this organization.

Why? I find that within communities of shared experiences, there is some sense to give back to those who have gone through the same thing. Each of our histories led us to where we are today. Here is just a little bit about who we are, why we chose Summer Search, and what we do!

Who We Are

2019 Summer Interns

From left to right:
Monique Taylor – Student Development Administration (M. Ed), Seattle University Continue reading Behind The Scenes: Intern Edition

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

Your Mental Health Matters

The following is a guest post written by Antonio Morales Jr. — blogger, poet, photographer, and Summer Search Philadelphia student — for Mental Health Awareness Month.

Antonio, who currently attends Community College of Philadelphia, describes himself as “a creative, who loves to spread positivity and inspire. I aspire to change negative narratives and stereotypes of black men, while making it look good.”

Antonio Morales JrAntonio Morales Jr.

Continue reading Your Mental Health Matters

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

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.

Continue reading Mentors Changed the Course of My Life