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A grassroots, evidence based gun violence prevention initiative

Founded in Summer 2019, the Summer Leadership Academy enables communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence to host summer programs which empower low-income students, survivors, and people of color to become community organizers. The initiative prioritizes removing barriers that keep marginalized student leaders from becoming leaders in the gun violence prevention movement. These barriers include access to meals, mentoring, and transportation at no cost to program participants and internship opportunities for student program leaders.

Watch our program overview video:

Watch our program featured on ABC News:

How to Get Involved

Host a Summer Leadership Academy

  1. Mentor low-income students, survivors, and people of color in Summer 2021
  2. Join a national community of grassroots student organizers
  3. Secure support and resources to fight gun violence in your community

Nominate a Student Leader

  1. Help start a summer program for marginalized youth in your community
  2. Join a national community of grassroot student organizers
  3. Empower a Student Leader to develop their professional leadership skills

Support the Summer Leadership Academy

  1. Sign up to promote the Summer Leadership Academy by emailing [email protected]
  2. Share studentsdemandaction.org/summer with a Student Leader
  3. Join our mailing list by visiting studentsdemandaction.org/summer

Become a Host

Our application process is simple and designed to showcase your leadership skills. We are committed to respecting your time and providing ongoing support throughout the application process. 

1. Apply
  • Application Opens November 16th, 2020 
  • Application Closes December 11th, 2020
  • We will follow-up with all applicants to schedule an interview.  
2. Our team will work with you to Develop your Summer Leadership Academy proposal
  • Proposal Development Starts December 11
  • Proposal Development Ends December 31
3. Host Cities will be selected on January 8th, 2021

Meet Our Alumni

“It was rocky at first because we didn’t know each other, but as time went by we got closer and closer…eventually we became a family.”

Angel Barrales, 14 (He/Him/His)

“…this is exactly what I was hoping for and more. Being able to present my proposal to judges, and gaining experience was such a powerful and impactful part of this program.”

Alessandra Zepeda Ortiz, 15 (They/Them/Theirs)

“I truly enjoyed my role as Program Manager for the South-Central Summer Leadership Academy. At first, I was very nervous because I knew it would take a lot of effort but being organized and staying ahead really helped our team become better and transition throughout the events with ease. Thinking back about everything we did this summer; I am proud of the amazing students I was able to mentor and lead.”

Justin Funez, 18 (He/Him/His)

“I wanted to learn how to create my own service projects and effectively solve the issues I cared about most. I learned that, and more. Not only did I learn what problems run deep in our society and what to do about them, but this experience made me feel more comfortable with talking about the prejudice I see and have experienced. With this knowledge, I now feel more empowered to facilitate change and more passionate about gun sense.”

Iman Omer, 17 (She/Her/Hers)

“I encourage anyone who wants to give back to their community to host a summer program. For me, the academy was very educational. I went from knowing little about the gun violence prevention movement to understanding how my friends and I can make a social impact. As a core team leader you will also learn skills that will help you in life.”

Aaronica Domonique , 21 (She/Her/Hers)

“As we got deeper into the program those friendships turned into family and through my personal experiences, I could tell the people that I surrounded myself for those few months really cared for me as I did for them.”

Jonathan Gonzalez, 16 (He/Him/His)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How old do I need to be to host the 2020-2021 Summer Leadership Academy?

    Student leaders to be 18 years of age by January 8, 2021.

  • What’s the time commitment to host a summer program?

    If you accept to host the Summer Leadership Academy, then you would serve an 8 month leadership role between Friday, January 8, 2020 and Tuesday, August 31, 2020.

  • What is a host city award?

    The opportunity to host a summer program between June 14 and August 31, 2021 that teaches low-income students, survivors, and people of color how to be leaders in the gun violence prevention movement.

  • How much organizing or advocacy experience do I need to qualify for the application?

    No organizing or advocacy experience is required to host a summer program. We will happily provide you with mentoring, training, and resources at no cost so that you can run a successful summer program.

  • What resources are available to Host City Leaders?

    Access to meal, mentoring, and transportation at no cost to program participants and internship opportunities for student program managers.

Contact Us

Student Summer Leadership