Tag Archives: North Bay

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

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

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.

Continue reading Making a Difference: Summer Search to the Peace Corps

Alumna Alex Verheecke Finds Her Voice Through Teaching

Last month we introduced you to Marie Angeles, a Summer Search Seattle alumna who is working to ensure college campuses are inclusive and supportive places for all students. This month, we connected with Bay Area alumna Alex Verheecke who is working on a similar goal, but for her high school students in Northern California.

AlexSummer Search Bay Area alumna Alex Verheecke.

Continue reading Alumna Alex Verheecke Finds Her Voice Through Teaching

Areli Hernandez: Scholar and Role Model

Meet Areli Hernandez, a Bay Area Summer Searcher currently in her second year at Santa Clara University (SCU).

Areli at Santa Clara

In addition to her impressive course-load as a triple major (yes, triple!) in Political Science, Spanish, and Ethnic Studies, (with a minor in Latin American Studies) and staying involved on campus as a student ambassador, Areli recently got accepted into the Fulbright Summer Institute in the United Kingdom! Continue reading Areli Hernandez: Scholar and Role Model

Thanking Your Mentor

At Summer Search, gratitude is part of everything we do. One of our core values is to “say thank you seven times.”

So, while that means we don’t need an excuse to express gratitude, we were beyond excited that yesterday was “Thank Your Mentor Day” (part of National Mentoring Month)!

This was an opportunity for our students, alumni, and staff to reflect on the ways their lives have benefited from a caring, supportive relationship with a mentor, and for them to say thank you. Continue reading Thanking Your Mentor

Ingredients for Success

“Can you believe how lucky I am? How incredible is it to be able to come to work every day and work side-by-side with someone like Annissa?”

Those are the words of Summer Search Bay Area Board Member and socially-conscious entrepreneur Andy Mercy, speaking about his partnership with North Bay alumna Annissa Byrd.

The work Andy is referring to is his newest business, a global mash-up restaurant called Dabba that opened in July in downtown San Francisco—just a few blocks from Summer Search’s National Office—with Annissa as its manager! Continue reading Ingredients for Success

Press Play >> College Bound – Update

A few months ago, we introduced you to seven Summer Searchers in a series of podcast-style conversations called Press Play, where they talked with their mentors about their college-bound journeys.
Press Play Episode One »
Press Play Episode Two »

At the time, most of these high school seniors had not yet made their final decisions about where they would be going to school in the fall.

Well, those college decisions have been made! So let’s see where these seven students are going, and what they have been up to. Continue reading Press Play >> College Bound – Update

Our Growing Family

The Summer Search family just got a whole lot bigger!

PH-2016-Sophs-crop-1Philadelphia’s new sophomores, with a few mentors sprinkled in, having fun at their Outward Bound fitness event.

Every spring, we welcome a new class of high school sophomores into our program — a new group of remarkable young people with the potential for great things. Continue reading Our Growing Family

From Student to Staff: Why We Work at Summer Search

At Summer Search, the work we do is important, and it isn’t easy. That’s why we are so grateful to have such an amazing and talented team of superstars who are dedicated to helping young people soar.

We are also grateful, and extremely honored, to have recently been named one of the “50 Best Nonprofits to Work For” by The NonProfit Times for the fourth year in a row! What makes this designation extra special is that it comes from our staff, as these rankings are derived from a nationwide survey of staff members at nonprofit organizations. Continue reading From Student to Staff: Why We Work at Summer Search