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Summer Leadership
Program 2014

July 1 to August 14, 2014

Are you a teenager interested in applying to SLP?

Applying to SLP is a four step process:

1 Complete this form right now.
2 Send us a short essay about yourself.
3 Submit two letters of recommendation.
4 Participate in a group or phone interview. Once you have completed the three steps above, we will contact you to schedule this interview.


Are you a social justice educator interested in teaching SLP?

Contact Tara Venkatraman with questions about teaching in the Summer Leadership Program. tara@thecityschool.org

Cost of SLP

The Summer Leadership Program is a paid job, and also has a sliding scale tuition based on family income. The program is free for families making under $50,000. Our goal is to make the program accessible for all families. In 19 years we have not turned anyone away based on family income.

You can pay tuition or make a contribution securely below.

Thank you.




The Summer Leadership Program (SLP) began in 1995, with SLP 2014 marking our 20th summer. The program provides teenagers with an exciting, powerful, diverse and fun summer of community building, self rediscovery, leadership skills, action projects, internships at local nonprofits, and challenging seminars to transform themselves into powerful voices for change.

High-school-age students from Boston's diverse neighborhoods, surrounding communities, and outlying suburbs enroll and are accepted into the Summer Leadership Program. Youth who have participated have come from high schools including City on a Hill, Needham High, Boston Latin Academy, Concord Carlisle High, Beaver Country Day, South Shore Christian Academy, Trinity Academy, South Boston High, English High, Newman Prep, Brighton High, Boston Arts Academy, the Winsor School, and many others.

Once accepted into the Summer Leadership Program, students participate in a three-day, two-night retreat in order to explore common bonds and build a sense of community. Then they launch into six and a half weeks of intensive seminar learning, service work, and concrete community action projects.

Students meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in a large assembly created by the Student Staff team and then move on to smaller groups. These groups build relationships and discuss how everyone is doing, talk about current events and their links to the past and possible future, and have deep dialogs about the diverse identities of those within the groups. On Tuesdays and Thursdays students spend their time in meaningful internships at businesses, community-based organizations.

After a fun lunch together, participants head to their academic Seminars. Seminar classes go deep into topics such as education, health, immigration, community organizing, housing, homelessness, and more. While the classes are academic in nature Seminar Teachers weave actitivies, media, and more to give a rich view of the information being covered.

With their Community Action Projects, students are working to promote positive change in Greater Boston. Previous Community Action Projects have included creating a drop-in "Chill Nite" in Hyde Park where a lack of teenaged programming was found, a march for peace along Boston's violent hot spots, planning the curriculum for a teenage pregnancy program, a guerilla theater campaign on drug abuse and its affects, and more.


After six and a half weeks of powerful programming, the Summer Leadership Program concludes with three events: We Rise Up, the presentation of all the summer's Community Action Projects; the interactive and completely student-led Final Presentations of everything covered in the Seminars; and the Graduation commencement celebrating all of the student achievement and growth throughout the course of the program.

I found myself invested in a larger community. This experience made me value not only where I came from, but also where I could go.-- Paulette Johnson, Summer Leadership Program, 1996;
first assistant in the Grads Program, 1999


During the Summer Leadership Program I realized that youth have the power to change the world.-- Marcus Hughes, Summer Leadership Program, 2008


Tell a friend about us.


Prison Empowerment Project

Contact Royal Nunes if your school or group would like to participate in the Prison Empowerment Project.

Jeremy Gomes (student leader, center) and two other youth participate in a Prison Empowerment Project discussion.

The Prison Empowerment Project (PEP) sponsors dialogue about crime and punishment among diverse groups of youth and adults inside and outside the walls of Massachusetts' prisons.

The U.S. has five percent of the global population, yet 25% of the prison population.  Have you ever wondered...

- can we prevent violence?
- why are so many people of color imprisoned?
- should we keep the death penalty?
- what would a world without violence look like?

Using these questions as a springboard for discussions, PEP offers an opportunity for thorough, realistic conversations about prisons and justice.  Teens and adults travel with staff to local prisons to hear inmates' stories, as they explore real-world realities, the impact of criminalization, alternative sentencing, and much more.  They challenge themselves and others to break down stereotypes and help find solutions to the increasing violence in our world.

High-school-age individuals and older are welcome to participate. (PEP operates with support from the Prison Voices Program at the Bay State Correctional Center and The Boston Police Department Community Disorders Unit and School Safety Unit.)
Appropriate dress and a valid ID are required for all prison visits.

Outreach Weekends

Contact Royal Nunes if your school or group would like to participate in a Youth Outreach Weekend.

Ayanna Richardson, Royal Nunes and Amit Sarin prepare dinner for a Youth Outreach Weekend.

Youth Outreach Weekends are service retreats for young people to explore two connected issues in our world: poverty and homelessness

Youth Outreach Weekends began in 1987 with the idea of engaging young people about the root causes of hunger, homelessness and poverty. Since then, over 2,300 participants have come through our doors to experience a Youth Outreach Weekend.

What Happens on a Youth Outreach Weekend?
With ice-breakers like Will You Smile For Me? to breakdown anxieties, learning activities like Ten Chairs that portray wealth inequality, youth-led conversations and workshops that look at poverty and societal stereotypes, and community service that young people undertake, each weekend is packed with active, hands-on learning.
Teens prepare their dinner and breakfast together, watch social-justice-themed movies and documentaries, and on Saturday travel to local shelters and food pantries to prepare rooms for guests, serve meals, stock shelves and meet those who come in for food and shelter. Afterward, the teens return to The City School to share their experiences and deepen their connections to the issues and to one another.

Teens can sign up for a Youth Outreach Weekend individually, with friends, or with a group from their school or church.  Typically, about twenty youth attend a Youth Outreach Weekend.  The weekends are geared for high school teens, but we welcome groups both younger and older: 8th graders, college students, teachers, corporate staff and others. 

44% of the homeless population is employed.

The average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is
just 14 years old.

Uncover the stereotypes... and discover these and other realities at our next Youth Outreach Weekend.

The most powerful thing about the Youth Outreach Weekend was breaking down stereotypes, especially of homeless people.

--Shane Bass, former Youth Staff Coordinator

The Grads' Program

Visit our Event Calendar pagefor a schedule of Grads 2012 events. Contact Tara Venkatraman for more information about the Grads' Program.


Jackie, Jomar and Victoria -- all grads of
The City School and youth leaders in
several programs.

The Grads' Program gives young people who've come through our doors a concrete place to expand their leadership potential and continue to build community with like-minded teens.

Young people join the Grads' Program after they've completed a summer, weekend or after-school program at The City School. Whether they've participated in our intensive Summer Leadership Program, a Youth Outreach Weekend, or an evening at the Prison Empowerment Project, they join with other grads to build community, power and action.

School Year 2008-2009 Activities

The Grads' Program for the 2008-2009 school year includes weekly workshops; free Capoiera Angola classes; Saturday sports, games, and movies; weekend retreats; advocacy work; and more!
Grads also facilitate our annual Knowledge Cafe where they lead the youth-adult dialogue that each year explores a single, pressing question and seeks to engage the community to ennvision solutions.

GLU (Grad Leaders United) are the youth leaders of the Grads' Program. They help coordinate a major Youth Summit in Boston each May, and organize The City School's yearly trip to New Orleans to continue post-hurricane Katrina service work and connections with youth organizations in New Orleans. 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.

Rose From Concrete

Contact Tara Venkatraman for more information about our Rose From Concrete program.

Rose from Concrete (RfC) is a program that provides leadership development, resource referral, education and job skills to court-involved youth in Greater Boston. 

The goal is provide young people with education and resources to actively work for social change.  RfC is a weekly leadership group that serves young men and women between the ages of 14 and 18 who are court-involved or have been involved with the criminal justice system.

RfC's approach is to use the young people's hands-on knowledge of the juvenile justice system as a spring-board to develop youth leadership skills. We help provide an opportunity to heal their anger and frustration, access to educational resources, leadership skills, and help realizing their personal and community power by finding their social, political and person identities.

Social Justice Education Institute

Contact Seth Kirshenbaum if your school or group would like a Social Justice Education Institute workshop.*

* Educators can receive Professional Development Points through the Boston Public Schools' Center for Leadership Development.


How do we build powerful, loving communities where everyone teaches and learns?

What is my vision for collective learning and change?

How does oppression impact my work with young people, while trying to understand their experiences?

The Social Justice Education Institute (SJEI) is a program for educators, civic leaders, youth workers, administrators and others who want to strengthen the power of youth and explore ways to get young people to challenge themselves to take ownership of their own education.

SJEI helps build transformative learning communities and teaches strategies to educators, youth workers, administrators and others to inspire young people to own their education, take leadership in the classroom, and focus on social justice in their communities.

In education systems where teachers, youth workers, administrators and others are being pressured to create curricula that teach to standardized tests, we build community by asking critical questions like those above, and engaging in honest, meaningful discussion among youth and adults.

The Social Justice Education Institute is the culmination of over twelve years of The City School's history -- building powerful learning communities where young people are engaged in experiential education.

* Receive Professional Develoment Points through
the Boston Public School's Center for
Leadership Development.

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