Upham's Corner Online

City School - Summer Leadership Program (SLP)

Posted: April 11, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

The Summer Leadership Program (SLP) is for high school age youth who want to spend their summer learning about why there is so much injustice in our communities and who want to do something to change it.

Summer Program Expectations
  • Students and staff attend a 2 night/3 day overnight retreat to begin the program. It’s lots of fun and it’s required. !
  • Students attend a daily seminar and participate in a Community Action Project (CAP) dealing with a community issue. This isn’t school, but we believe in reading, writing, discussions and actions. How else can we learn how to change things? !
  • Each week, students “intern” at a communitybased organization for a “real world” work experience.
  • Students receive a monthly combo T pass and a weekly stipend of $100 upon satisfactory completion of the week’s activities.
Additional information at The City School website
The summer program is 6 ½ weeks long with three main components.
  1. An academic seminar such as: community organizing, health disparities, violence and liberation, environmental justice, poverty and inequality which takes place three days per week for five weeks.
  1. The practicum which is an internship in a community-based organization.
  1.  The community action project.
We meet with the internship site coordinators to make sure that the youth are gaining something from the internship experience.  We don't want them doing mundane tasks, for example, filing. This is the practicum piece so it is paired up to match their academic seminar.  Here are some examples.
  • Youth who selected the poverty and inequality seminar worked at the Boston Rescue Mission where the young people were learning about homelessness through a homeless shelter.
  • The environmental justice seminar was paired with the Charles River kayaking and canoe center where they were pulling out water chestnuts from the Charles River because that is considered a pollutant.
In the summer of 2010, 76 youths participated in City School and completed the first five weeks with 66 graduating from the program.  That 86% of the youth completing all requirements of the program.

In order to graduate they have to satisfy several requirements:
  1. Finish a research reflection paper
  2. Get approval from their internship coordinator
  3. Miss a maximum of three days of the program
  4. Give a presentation of what they learned in their seminars
Youth who graduate from the SLP are automatically members of the GLU or Grad Leaders United.  GLU (Grad Leaders United) are the youth leaders of the Grads' Program.
  • They help coordinate a major Youth Summit in Boston each May. 
  • GLU also advocates for youth funding for jobs, coordinates youth-led events, arranges and leads overnight retreats, and receives one-on-one mentoring with adult staff.
We find that our summer program can have a dramatic impact on youth who are looking to make a difference in the world.  Those who finish the program are very likely to return and spend time with City School during the academic year.

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