Summer Search

An Effective Practice


Summer Search is a leadership development program, founded in San Francisco in 1990, aimed at providing ongoing and long-term support for low-income high school students.

Summer Search selects disadvantaged high school students who demonstrate potential for reflection, altruism and performance and helps them realize their leadership potential.

Selected students, ranging from those in their sophomore year to those about to graduate, participate in programs that include four elements. The first elements is participation in weekly mentoring sessions. Mentors give students tools to enable them to be insightful about their own behavior and accountable for their actions. The second element is the summer experiential education program. Participants receive a full scholarship to participate in two summer trips designed to broaden their perspective on the world and open their eyes to new possibilites. The program provides advisory services to help with college applications as well as financial aid counseling. The alumni services portion of the program is designed to help program graduates continue their success after program completion through networking events and professional development services like career workshops, internships, and by providing professional mentors.

Goal / Mission

The mission of Summer Search is to find resilient low-income high school students and inspire them to become responsible and altruistic leaders by providing year-round mentoring, life-changing summer experiences, college advising, and a lasting support network.

Results / Accomplishments

Summer Search operates seven offices nationwide helping more than 700 high school students annually; 99% of Summer Search students graduate high school and 92% of them begin a 4-year college or university program.

89% of those enrolled graduate college or stay on track to do so.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Erin Lasky
500 Sansome Street
Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94111
(212) 248-7401
Education / Higher Education
Economy / Poverty
Education / School Environment
Summer Search
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
San Francisco, CA
For more details
Target Audience