Summer Empowerment Academy (SEA)

The SEA emerged from the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation as a mechanism for "actualizing" the ideas, philosophies and strategies detailed in Hill Harper’s books aimed at youth, Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny and Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE your Destiny. These books became national best sellers, reaching tens of thousands of readers, and influencing youth across the nation and abroad in positive ways.

Capitalizing on this momentum, the SEA is a mechanism for infusing that power directly through real life interactions between young people and adults who serve as “mentors.” These mentors are content experts in a variety of fields that bring knowledge and role model behaviors that will move participants along a trajectory of success – beginning with their ninth grade year.

The foundation's flagship program is the Summer Empowerment Academy (SEA), created to address the high school dropout epidemic. SEA is a mentoring and educational support program for eighth graders entering the ninth grade from economically challenged neighborhoods. Participants attend a free, week-long training during the summer and before the Fall semester when they enter high school.

The SEA begins with a "Kickoff" program on the Sunday before the weeklong program, where participants, their parents, staff and mentors all meet one another and establish the rules and expectations for the week to come.

The SEA lasts for one week – a full 40 HOURS – that, strategically planned, builds and strengthens the participants of each year’s cohort into a self-supportive, cohesive group who have the determination and optimism to elevate their approach and strategies in all areas of their lives – academic, personal and professional.

high school summer volunteer

Empowerment Conferences

During the Fall and Spring semester, the MYD Foundation holds an “empowerment conference” at local venue.

These conferences serve several purposes:

They provide participants with an opportunity to reconnect with their peers and with mentors and volunteers from the summer;
They expose the participants to different educational settings, by holding these conferences in different places, in addition to the location during the summer;
They allow for workshop presenters to build on the previous summer’s ideas, lessons and information, strengthening the knowledge and skills gained while providing new ideas and experiences along the way.

Community Services Projects

MYD operates on the principle of responsible citizenship and “giving back.” We rely heavily on the support of responsible individuals who unselfishly donate their time and energy to help us carrying out our mission. To role model this behavior for the youth we serve, we schedule several community service projects annually. Staff and mentors work side-by-side with our youth participants, contributing our efforts at homeless shelters, during beach cleanups, and toy drives, enjoying the rewards and benefits of a lifetime of volunteering.

Field Trips

Los Angeles is a mecca of endless opportunities for cultural enrichment. To ensure that our students are continually enlightened, engaged and inspired, we take several field trips each year, including those to local art and history museums, theatrical performances and community gardens. We have also engaged horse back riding, archery and lasso lessons at a ranch just north of Los Angeles! The small group dynamics further solidify the relationships formed and offer opportunities for positive peer interaction, which is something we actively facilitate.