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The mission of Summer Search is to challenge low-income high school students to develop character and leadership by providing year-round mentoring, life-changing summer experiences, college advising and a lasting support network.
Summer Search makes a long-term investment in students, from their sophomore year of high school through college and beyond. Selected students participate in the following programs and services:
· Long-term supportive mentoring relationships that emphasize self-reflection and self awareness: students are in weekly contact with a trained, full-time staff mentor. Students are challenged to examine self-defeating behaviors and to take responsibility for their own growth. This collaboration sustains the impact of the summer program and develops each student's personal growth throughout high school.
· Participation to over 75 private, high-quality summer experiential education programs worldwide, including wilderness leadership expeditions like Outward Bound, academic enrichment programs and community service and homestays abroad. These programs enable students to push themselves and succeed beyond what they thought was possible both physically and emotionally. For many students, this is the first opportunity to step away from the constraints of their lives and brave a new experience that will change them forever. Students learn to confront their fears and challenge themselves in new ways. They return home confident and inspired, with a wider perspective of the world and of themselves. In 2005, Summer Search leveraged almost $100,000 in tuition discounts from our summer program partners.
· Access to private college counseling and SAT preparation normally unavailable to low-income youth. Summer Search helps students achieve the best educational opportunities possible by providing college preparation, admissions and financial aid planning services. These services ensure that students successfully navigate the college process or make good post-secondary decisions for those few students who do not go to college.
· A lasting network of support for alumni, including professional internships, networking events and career counseling.
Summer Search's long-term goal is that individual students will not only transform their own lives, but that they will develop the skills and the values to become a new generation of leaders, transforming the schools and communities in which they live. These skills and values will enable them to understand and take ownership of their decisions, speak out with strong voices, and become successful role models for other young people in their communities. Over time, these individual voices combined will create a force for long-term change in our communities.
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