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The Summer Leadership Program (SLP) began in 1995, with SLP 2024 marking our 30th summer. The program provides young people aged 14-19 with an exciting, powerful, and life-changing summer of community building, political education, and leadership development. Young people come to SLP concerned about injustice and ready to learn more and emerge from SLP ready to be part of a broader movement for social change. High-school-age students from Boston's diverse neighborhoods, surrounding communities, and outlying suburbs participate in the Summer Leadership Program. Youth who have participated have come from various Greater Boston- area high schools. Once accepted into SLP, students participate in a retreat exploring identity, power, and privilege, and build community. Then we launch five weeks of intensive learning around racial, economic, gender, queer and disability justice, as well as building skills to organize and take action for justice.

(Video created in 2010 by Erika Simon, a Hines Fellow from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.)

SLP Components

Created by the Youth Staff team, which brings the entire community together for fun events like Twin Day and Spirit Day. Afterwards, participants head to their issue-based

Youth-Led Popular Education
Our curriculum go deep into topics such as racial justice, gender justice, economic justice, queer justice or disability justice. Facilitators are experienced youth workers, and often graduates of our program; they weave together activities, media, and more to give a rich view of the information being covered.

Community Action Projects
Youth are working for racial and social justice in Greater Boston. Previous Community Action Projects have included creating a conference for Boston Public School teachers to learn about restorative justice and liberatory education; protesting racial injustice and access to quality education and youth jobs.

Affinity Groups
Young people explore their own identity, power and privilege through race, gender and sexual orientation affinity groups, which they self-identity and self-select into. Affinity groups include interactive activities, history, art and action.

After six and a half weeks of powerful programming, SLP concludes with three events: interactive Youth-Led Workshops; We Rise Up and Graduation, our closing celebration and commencement acknowledging the achievements of each young person's growth throughout the program.


Summer Leadership Program Videos

Watch videos about the Summer Leadership Program! They were created in 2010 by Erika Simon, a Hines Fellow from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.



"At SLP, I have grown so much especially through the summer. I was able to learn about Black History, about issues that we are facing as a community, and also how to make a change. It feels so good to have been a part of such a powerful community like SLP." 

—  Caciana Rosa, 16, Dorchester

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