CREATING FUTURES WITH
PURPOSE & EQUITY

by empowering young people through 
our 7+ year mentoring and experiential learning program


Our World is Better

when all young people find their purpose

HOW DOES SUMMER SEARCH DO THIS?     

Our program is a 7+ year commitment. Our students are supported through mentorship by staff mentors, summer experiences, and career and financial guidance. Students define their own life purpose and we help them reach their dreams.

The Challenge

Our society creates unjust obstacles that unfairly block young people from their search to 
define their purpose and reach their dreams.

Education Gap

Just 21% of students from low-income communities earn a bachelor’s degree compared to 57% of their peers from higher-income communities.

Graduating from College & Securing Great Career Opportunities 

68% of our students earn a bachelor’s degree compared to 21% of their peers. They also graduate with $20k less debt and 80% feel "optimistic" about future job opportunities. 

Mentorship Gap

Mentorship matters for at-risk youth - 76% of at-risk students with a mentor report having college aspirations. Whereas, only 56% of students have college aspirations when they don’t have a mentor.

Long term 
Mentorship

Our 7-9 year mentorship program gives students a foundational support they can count on. 95% said their mentor helped them set and pursue goals.

Enrichment Gap

The wealthiest 10% of U.S. households spend $9K annually on out of school enrichment for their children. To put that into perspective, the median family income for our participants is $24,732.

Summer Search 
Experience Trips

The median family income for our students is $24,732 per year. 96% We provide two fully-funded summer experiences that allow students to try and see new things.

Career 
Opportunity Gap

Our students face limited access to professional networks and career opportunities, whereas 43% of college students relied on family connections to get an internship interview.

Career & Financial 
Mentorship

Our extensive post-secondary mentorship includes career training, financial counseling, internship matching, and professional development. 

The
Summer Search Model

Our model empowers young people to discover their purpose through mentoring, summer experiential learning, and by providing support from high school to post-secondary education through to launching a fulfilling career. 

The Summer Search Model new
Sophomore Year Summer Experience Number One Junior Year Summer Experience Number Two Senior Year College or Post Secondary Alumni Network

Sophomore Year

Starting as sophomores, Summer Search students are paired with a professional staff mentor for 1-on-1 mentoring conversations. They also participate in group mentoring sessions where students meet with their mentor and a group of fellow high school peers.

In these student-led conversations and group mentoring sessions, students engage in activities, reflection, and discussion to support identity development, career exploration, financial literacy, and other practical skill development.

Summer Experience Number One

Summer Search students are awarded scholarships to participate in summer experiences after their sophomore and junior years. These are opportunities for growth and connection that are both challenging and empowering.

Junior Year

As juniors, students continue with mentoring and begin to think about their plans after high school. Students partner with their mentor to select a summer experience that supports their interests and aspirations.

Summer Experience Number Two

The second summer experience will range from wilderness expeditions, to cultural and service trips, as well as academic or career-related programs. Students partner with their mentor to decide which opportunities best fit their interests and aspirations.

Senior Year

Students partner with us to navigate toward their post-secondary dreams. This could mean going to college (We help 97% of our Seniors get accepted to college.) It could also mean starting a trade, business, or other adventure.

Timeline:

  • Students continue to have conversations with their mentors (either 1 on 1 or group sessions.)
  • Students continue discussing post-secondary plans/goals. They start taking action by applying to colleges/programs/internships.
  • Students attend Summer Search Spring Events such as networking events, career counseling, and professional development training.
  • Students begin transitioning to their Post-Secondary Mentor.
  • Students and their Families attend the Graduation Celebration and Senior Send-Off Events.

College or Post Secondary

Summer Searchers have access to our national network of staff, alumni, board, and corporate partners for professional development opportunities and resources to support managing and taking charge of finances.

Timeline:

  • If in college/academic program - Students check-in with their mentor throughout the year.
  • They receive support/guidance with campus questions and financial aid needs.
  • Students have an opportunity to come back to support and advise younger Summer Searchers.
  • Students attend Post-Secondary events with other Students.
  • They begin to build a career plan for after graduation.

Alumni Network

We have a growing network of alumni who are leading their families and communities. The Alumni Network provides alumni with opportunities to advance their careers, support Summer Search through service and philanthropy, and stay connected with current students.

Timeline:

  • Alumni have the opportunity to come back to support/advise younger Summer Searchers.
  • Alumni attend alumni-focused events.
  • Stay connected with Summer Search participants and supporters for career development and job opportunities.
  • Stay connected with Summer Search participants and supporters for career development and job opportunities.
  • Alumni join the Summer Search Connect portal to join the conversation and network.
  • Alumni often donate/volunteer with Summer Search by joining Alumni Boards or Boards of Directors.

Our Students are Creating 
Cycles of Abundance

Graduating College with
 Great Careers

Financial Security for 
their Families

Defining Success & Living Their Purpose


eduardo

Fernandez


"The amount of support I've experienced from my Mentor, Ryan, and the Summer Search community is beyond anything I could imagine.

My Summer Search community has embraced me for who I am and made me feel like I belong."

- Eduardo

  • Location Bay area

STUDENT VOICES

Choose a Student to See their Story

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    Meet Niles

    From first-generation Malaysian immigrant with a harrowing family story to Harvard grad and Silicon Valley entrepreneur – Niles’ story is an amazing example of how our Summer Searchers are ending poverty (and changing the world while they’re at it.)

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    Family story

    My mom immigrated from Malaysia, escaping a pre-arranged marriage and a two-room apartment for a family of 10. She and my father gave me a lot more than they had growing up, but when both my father and my mother fell ill, I became the primary caretaker in the household at the age of 12 – there was little support to lean on with my little brother being only six at the time. We did the best we could as we watched our father battle cancer and our mother overcoming her own physical challenges.

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    Sophomore Year – Acceptance & 1 on 1 Mentorship

    Sleep was rare and I saw things no kid should have to see, so when my father passed there was a deep sense of loss. Life became a constant race — a race to help my mom get better and brother grow up, a race to stay on top of both household bills and schoolwork, and a race that left little time to deal with my own trauma. The only breaks came when Summer Search literally took me out of my environment, both physically on summer trips and mentally through weekly mentoring.

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    Summer Search #1 – Group Outdoor Adventure

    My first summer trip took me to Alaskan Wilderness leadership training in the Prince William Sound where for the first time I had the space to feel emotions about having lost my father.

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    Summer Search #2 – Adventure Experience of your Choice

    My second trip pushed me beyond my perceived limits, trekking up to 19,000 feet and building a school in Nepal. In those Himalayan villages, I had an opportunity to connect with others and myself in ways I had never known were possible. For over two months I never owned a mirror, yet to this day that period in Nepal was one of my most reflective.

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    Senior Year – Post Secondary/Career Exploration Mentorship

    I returned home from Nepal revived and inspired, but in a school of thousands, my personal triumph was one story of many, one folder in a cabinet of hundreds that wanted a brighter future. Fortunately, the team at Summer Search, led by Sandy Peoples, supported me through the college process. I even got my first lesson in negotiation, by leveraging a full ride from Stanford to get a similar package from Harvard where I ultimately went.

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    College or Post Secondary – Career & Financial Mentorship

    As I arrived on Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, waiting at my door was a new computer. A laptop with a note from a Summer Search donor, a note I still have today, because it reminded me that people could literally deliver kindness and generosity even if you had never met.

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    Alumni Network – Networking & Philanthropy

    Summer Search also gave me the support I needed to do things like start my company, Enwoven, a New York Times funded start-up, and give a TEDx talk. Summer Search became a place I could prototype my initial ideas and the Summer Search community has become some of my most trusted advisors, mentors, and investors.

We Believe

  • Our world is better off when everyone can discover their purpose.
  • We believe when young people can cultivate the power and courage already inside them, they
    are unstoppable.
  • Young people need allies who recognize their lived experiences as strengths—who celebrate their communities.
  • When we stand up and reject society’s unjust barriers, young people can see the brightness of their future.
  • Meaningful, long-term mentorships make a life-changing difference.
  • Experiencing new adventures that push them outside of their comfort zones, students discover their strength.