It’s hard to believe that exactly two months ago, Summer Search packed up and moved on uptown to share space with Next Jump. Our staff joked that there must be some kind of sorcery at play with an endless supply of professional development, fitness and (most importantly) beverage opportunities.
We sent this photo to students to get them into the office. It worked.
Our team was a combination of incredulous (could this really be happening?), grateful and a wee bit nervous. We were about to receive so much, what could we provide NxJers with? How would our corporate and non-profit cultures mesh? How could we make sure our students and staff are good neighbors while also making this our home?
These are questions Summer Search and the HCE team are answering together in order to grow in this unique partnership. Here are some highlights that begin to address these questions:
Wellness is no longer lip service
A Program Associate (mentor) at Summer Search spends between 15 and 20 hours a week listening, encouraging, challenging and simply absorbing students’ stories. We have talked about “Corporate Athlete”, flex hours, and have had Vicarious Trauma training, but nothing beats having to be accountable to playing ping pong or taking yoga class during the workday. While the fitness teams stretch some of us in our competitive nature J, I certainly feel like I have more to give to staff and students. (We’re working on quantifying this!)
Engaging students with NextJump
Just last week, we held our annual Career Discovery Day where our students got to ask a panel of Next Jumpers about their jobs, backgrounds, and future aspirations as professionals. Students attested that this panel answered honestly and thoughtfully, which made “fancy corporate jobs” appear more in reach than they had previously thought. Students couldn’t stop talking about the Coding 101 course — we are so appreciative our students get to engage in a completely new way.
We are holding Junior and Senior Orientations for students on September 10th and 12th to discuss their calendar year with Summer Search. One section will be dedicated to “Our New Home” and asking students: To continue to grow with Summer Search, what do you want this office to feel like? What is your role in helping to create that feel?
How we hope to “give back”
Summer Search will be rolling out “Brown Bag Lunches” to be led by our staff on topics like mentoring, listening techniques, communication, identity and the factors that shape us and our world (race, class, gender, etc.). Super simple, right? While we don’t promise answers, we aim to bring a different perspective and a safe place to ask the critical questions that we ask our students. This is our version of bonding – we hope Next Jumpers will join us!
Please continue to provide thoughts and feedback to the SS HCE team about how we can continue to better this partnership or come talk to me directly on the 8th floor.
Summer Search Associate