Summer Search is a non-profit organization. It costs about $6500 to sponsor a Summer Search student for a year. It costs $1062 to provide year-round mentoring for one Summer Search student. Sponsoring SAT classes for one student costs $105.  You can see how quickly those dollars add up.

Please consider making a donation to my fundraiser. You can go directly to the Summer Search website donation page by clicking on this link here.

To enter the rafftle and be eligible to win these fabulous prizes, just email me a copy of your email donation confirmation from Summer Search Philadelphia. I will enter your name in the raffle, giving you one ticket for every five dollars you donate.  (Donate $20 and you get four chances to win. Donate $5 for one chance to win. And so on.)  Email your confirmation to me at raffleATblackbunnyfibersDOTcom.

If you don’t want to use the Summer Search on-line donation form, but would prefer to mail me a check that I can forward to SummerSearch, email me at raffleATblackbunnyfibersDOTcom.

I will pick the winners on Valentine’s Day, 2012.  All donations must be received by Summer Search (via the website) or me personally (if you prefer to send a check) by midnight on February 13, 2012. I’ll announce the winners on this website, my blog and will also email them.

Thank you for your generosity.  Let’s show Summer Search the power of the knitting (fiber/crochet/crafting) community!

Summer Search Philadelphia is part of a national organization that is designed to find high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and help nurture them so that they graduate high school, continue on to college and become productive members of the community.  The emphasis is on helping one kid at a time to break the cycle of poverty.

Summer Search starts by getting referrals from teachers and principals — people who see kids at school every day.  They identify students who demonstrate potential for reflection, altruism and performance — and part of the reason for Summer Search’s success is the difficulty of the screening process.  It’s a rigorous screening, and these kids come from backgrounds so unlike most of ours that we can’t imagine the kind of things they face on a day-to-day basis (parents who have died or are otherwise out of the picture, abuse, neglect, poverty, crime and violence in their neighborhoods, and so on).

Once they enter the program, students participate in four aspects of the Summer Search program.

  • Each student is assigned a mentor and meets with their mentor for weekly sessions. The mentor helps coach the student, give them insight into their behavior, help them with any problems they are having, and generally gives emotional support. A big emphasis is placed on helping the student to be accountable for their actions.
  • Each student gets a scholarship to take two trips, one in the summer before the junior year, and one in the summer before the senior year. These trips are designed to build the student’s confidence in his/her abilities, to show them the broader world out there (a lot of these kids have never been outside Philadelphia — some have never been outside the particular neighborhood where they grew up, let alone left the city or state) and help the student gain valuable experience. Past trips have included participating in Outward Bound, community service trips to the Dominican Republic, study abroad programs in China, and other amazing experiences.
  • Each student gets help in applying to colleges, including individualized help with the admissions forms and financial aid counseling. Over 90 percent are the first in their family to go to college, so things like paperwork and deadlines, that might not be a big deal when you’re used to them, prove much more difficult for Summer Search kids.
  • Each student participates in a host of “alumni” services, like helping them with networking events, providing internships and finding mentors for them. They also receive continued mentoring through the first two years of college.  You might not realize it, but the first two years of college are critical for Summer Search kids.  They are away from home for the first time, feeling isolated and overwhelmed as so many college freshmen do, but they also don’t have tons of financial support or sometimes emotional support.  They may get calls from family members saying “You need to quit school and get a job” or they may have trouble getting used to the new workload that college demands.  The mentoring process really helps these kids keep their eyes on the prize:  a college degree that will help them break out of the endless cycle of poverty.
The results are phenomenal.  Consider some of the statistics.  The U.S. Department of Labor says that only half of low-income students graduate from high school; a whopping 99.6 percent of Summer Search participants do. If you look at low-income ninth-graders, only 11 percent of them are statistically going to complete a four-year college degree — eleven percent!  But 85 percent of Summer Search participants in post-high-school educational programs are on-track to graduate.
All of these statistics are kind of bland, though, compared to the experience of actually meeting a Summer Search participant. The program requires that Summer Search participants and their parents help pay it forward by telling their stories in person and in print.  These kids are so bright, so enthusiastic, and so proud of what they’ve accomplished. Their parents tell stories that will make you cry, admitting how difficult it was to let their children go to other states or countries, how much they missed them, but how proud they are of all their child has achieved.
You can read more about Summer Search Philadelphia at their website; and you can read the story of one individual Summer Search participant, Shawn, here.

Check out the amazing prizes that have been so generously donated in support of Summer Search:

  • A signed copy of Wendy Knits Lace, donated by Wendy Johnson
  • A selection of patterns from StephCat, donated by (of course!) Stephannie Talent (her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • A knitter’s goodie package full of handdyed yarn and patterns, donated by Black Bunny Fibers

Representative skein shown; I'll select for you based on your color preferences and available inventory

  • Shetland/mohair/silk roving, donated by Puff the Magic Rabbit
  • A spinner’s goodie package full or handdyed roving, donated by Black Bunny Fibers
  • A copy of Hunter Hammersen’s upcoming book, The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, in either PDF or printed form (expected publication date spring 2012)

Crocus Sock (from The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet)

  • An advance signed copy of my new book, which will be published this fall by Lark Crafts
  • An accessory handknit by Somebunny’s Love
  • A selection of 5 PDF patterns from Leann Originals (link to her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • A selection of PDF patterns from the Lady Wyvern (link to her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • A gift certificate to WEBS, donated by Caitcreates
  • Three skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn in the winner’s choice of color and the Sakura shawl pattern donated by Loop Yarn in Philadelphia

Brooklyn Tweed's Sakura Shawl

  • A prize to be announced, donated by Universal Yarn
  • A prize to be announced, donated by designer Chrissy Gardiner
  • A prize to be announced from KnitCircus magazine
  • A copy of “The Fine Line,” by Grace Anna Farrow

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