June 12, 2023

A Declaration with Pride

Brendan Hill

Brendan is the National Marketing & Communications Manager at Summer Search.
Pride 2023-cities-2


Trigger Warning: this post contains reference to suicide as well as violence against trans, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC individuals. 

Summer Search reflects the world around us.  

This February, Gallup reported that 20% of Gen Z youth identify as LGBTQ+, a number that has grown year over year.

Pride Month is a celebration of each and every LGBTQ+ person and their basic human right to live freely and fully as themselves.

Such is not the case for far too many within the LGBTQ+ community. We acknowledge today’s realities: 

The revolution of Pride has been critical for the policy changes that have happened over the past ten years, but we still have a lot of work to do.  

Summer Searchers must feel safe, accepted, and able to self-actualize.

Summer Search’s professional mentors are here to affirm and support our LGBTQ+ students every day, but you don’t have to be a mentor to make a differenceThe Trevor Project shares that just one accepting adult can reduce the risk of a suicide attempt by 40% in LGBTQ+ youth.

Summer Search Philadelphia Instagram post for Pride Month.

Pride Month post from @summersearchbayarea.

Summer Search Philadelphia Instagram post for Pride Month.

Pride Month ‘Checklist’ from @summersearchphilly.

Summer Search Boston Instagram post for Pride Month.

Invite to Boston students to join staff at Pride event from @summersearchboston.

How We Take Action as an Organization

In addition to our mentoring, as an organization, Summer Search strives to model that same commitment to care for our community. Here are a few ways we take action:

  • Community Agreements: Informed by the voices and experiences of our participants, alumni, staff, and partners, we developed our Community Agreements to guide how we work together, take care of ourselves and others, and foster safe space at work.
  • Language: Our language choices reflect our commitments to being a participant-centered program and our Community Agreements. We speak about Summer Search’s programming from an asset-based perspective, using inclusive language. We work to help our participants see their lived-experiences as strengths. We celebrate the communities we serve.
  • Pronouns: We include chosen pronouns in email signatures and staff bios, and it’s an organizational norm to include them in conference calls.
  • Benefits: Well-being, flexibility, and ongoing learning and development are pillars of our culture. We value our staff and are committed to creating an environment where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued. For instance, committing to transparent compensation practices, as well as offering insurance that covers costs of therapy, EAP benefits linked to mental health, and funds available for trainings and support related to self-care and well-being.
  • Resource Sharing: We strive to foster a culture of open dialogue around difficult topics, as well as the sharing of resources and knowledge from all corners of our community.

How We All Can Take Action

Below are some actions you can take to ensure that the LGBTQ+ youth in your lives can be who they are, comfortably and safely, wherever they go. 

Take Action:

Resources and Organizations: 

Summer Search stands with and for our students and their families, regardless of immigration status, gender, sexuality, race, ability, or religion. 

In Solidarity,

Kenyon DeVault, Summer Search Bay Area ED.

Eunice Dunham, VP of Talent. 

Malika Graham-Bailey, VP of Program. 

Nick Hutchinson, COO & CFO. 

Tolulope Oladele, Interim Summer Search Philadelphia ED. 

Ursulina Ramirez, CEO. 

Peter A. Retzlaff, Summer Search NYC ED.

Megan Sussman, VP of Development. 

Hermese Velasquez, Summer Search Boston ED .

Therese Williams, Interim Summer Search Seattle ED.

Summer Search Pride logo

Click image to save and share our Summer Search Pride logo.

Welcome to the NEW summersearch.org!

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