SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
WHAT IS SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE?
Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) is a summer program tailored to Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) New York City youth to engage in conversations centered around social identities, privilege and power. Through weekly workshops taking place during July and August, SLI aims to create a safe space for discussion about topics not typically explored in high school curricula and to build a welcoming community for youth with similar curiosities and passions.
The program is facilitated by college students in a by-youth, for-youth format that is at the core of CYI’s mission, culminating in a tight-knit youth led group inspired to take action.
SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE IS THE LONGEST STANDING PROGRAM OF CYI.
Summer Leadership Institute serves as the flagship program when CYI was first founded in 1999. For more than 20 years, SLI has provided New York City youth with a space and community to engage in topics relevant to society’s rapid changes and to explore the intersections between APIA history and present-day issues. In addition to youth-led workshops, the program has welcomed a number of community figures, including Asian American Federation (AAF), and New York Senator John Liu, as guest speakers.
Enthusiasm and willingness to learn is key to a rewarding and unforgettable summer experience and SLI encourages everyone to apply as a participant, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, ability, gender, sex, and sexuality.
Past workshop topics have included: APIA history in America, unpacking internalized racism and anti-Blackness, gender and sexuality, and colonialism.
WHAT ARE SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE'S VALUES?
Summer Leadership Institute strives to engage, educate, and empower NYC high school students to become the next generation of community advocates and leaders. Workshops are structured to prioritize building a self-reflective space for participants in which they feel safe and welcomed to take part in collaborative discourses on important issues. Rooted in the principles of personal growth and exploration,
SLI understands that every youth has a unique journey with racial and social justice. Whether you are just starting to explore topics such as identity, privilege, power, and community, or you already have familiarity in these areas, SLI’s workshops will provide exploratory activities and discussions to enrich and guide your journey.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF
SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE?
Through each summer cohort, SLI participants and their youth staff explore topics such as identity, community, and consciousness building, culminating in a tight-knit youth-led group inspired to take action on community issues. Alums finish the program with a community of passionate, committed, and strong-willed thinkers and actors for progressive change. When asked about their experiences, alums have emphasized their newfound friendships and connections they have built as well as the inspiring guest speakers they have met. Many SLI participants continue to stay involved in other CYI programs, like Chinatown Literacy Project and Chinatown Beautification Day, and have continued the circle of exploration by coming back to the program as the program coordinators and facilitators.
Some alums, including SLI staff, have also started their own community initiatives, such as the Chinatown Community Fridge and Pantry, founded by SLI alum Marilyn Shi, in addition to becoming involved with other community based organizations like Apex for Youth, The W.O.W Project, and MinKwon Center for Community Action.
SLI coordinators and facilitators in particular have taken the skills of workshop facilitation back to their respective communities and colleges to continue the conversations they had in SLI. SLI staff have also gone on to work at local community organizations, as well as become professors and lecturers at distinguished universities.
Pictured here is SLI alum, Marilyn Shi, who founded Chinatown Community Fridge and Pantry.