Tag Archives: Philadelphia

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

Creating an Inclusive and Innovative Community

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.

Summer Search Philadelphia student and alumni speakers: Amarion, Jess, Sianni, and Cesar.
Continue reading Creating an Inclusive and Innovative Community

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

Alumni Participation Challenge 2020

Summer Search alumni represent a rich tapestry of voices, experiences, and leadership. This growing network of nearly 4,000 leaders is making a positive impact in the world and at Summer Search.

One crucial way they are making an impact is through giving back — whether that’s giving back to their local communities by volunteering, voting, working in the nonprofit sector, or donating.

We are incredibly grateful for our alumni’s generosity. Over the years, Summer Search alumni have graciously given with their dollars to support the young people in our program, with alumni generating revenue topping $200,000 last year.

In 2020, alumni are once again rallying to support Summer Search at a most critical time.

Continue reading Alumni Participation Challenge 2020

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

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

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

Resources: Taking Care of Community

We’re all in this together.

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is creating rippling repercussions for so many across the country and the world, especially for Summer Search’s students and families — such as loss of school lunches, loss of hourly-wage jobs, lack of paid sick leave, uncertainty for students returning home from college, and shuttering of small family businesses.

Even while social distancing, our Summer Search community continues to show up (via phone calls, text messages, and video chats) for each other to provide much-needed spaces to process, explore, and relate to what is happening in the world.

Summer Search Alumni Board Zoom ChatSummer Search alumni and staff staying connected in a Bay Area Alumni Board meeting, via Zoom. Originally shared by Bay Area alumna Melissa Nop.

Continue reading Resources: Taking Care of Community

This is Summer Search (Video)

Has anyone ever asked you, ‘What is Summer Search?’

If so, our brand new student recruitment video offers an authentic, first-hand look at what it’s like to be a Summer Searcher!

From empowering summer opportunities, to strong mentoring relationships and friendships, to impactful post-secondary support, you’ll hear about it all! Continue reading This is Summer Search (Video)