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A group 17 participants in the Summer Leadership Academy wear Students Demand Action shirts while on a hike in California

Apply to Host the Summer Leadership Academy

As a Summer Leadership Academy host, you develop and implement a summer program in your community or city. Apply to host!



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 students from those communities, including 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, in some cases, internship opportunities for student program leaders. 

Our program overview

Summer Leadership Academy on ABC News

The Proposal Writing Process

Graduates of the Summer Leadership Academy, will create proposals for reducing gun violence in their community. Student Proposals are presented on Impact Day, a public event held at the conclusion of each program. 

With the support of Students Demand Action, a program of Everytown for Gun Safety, each Summer Leadership Academy program will advance at least one proposal for further development and implementation.

The proposal writing process is central to our sustainability goals as a summer program, it represents our commitment to maintaining a robust community of organizers who are committed to gun violence prevention. During this phase, student participants work with program staff to ideate and most importantly better understand what evidence based gun violence prevention strategies would best serve their community. In the past students have proposed a wide range of creative ideas; a 5k gun sense run to a town hall with the mayor to continuing the summer program in their city the following year. 

“I am 14 years old and I can help reduce gun violence in my community”

Aiyln Perez

Past Winners

2019 Proposal Winner: South Central Summer Leadership Academy

Low-income students will continue to immerse themselves in advocacy against gun violence in South Central Los Angeles through planning community events, learning about political activism, and developing critical leadership skills.  

South Central Summer Leadership Academy giving their presentation in 2019.

2020 Proposal Winner: 3 Homegirls No Gun

Founded by summer program alumni Alè, Jamilex, and Julie, 3 Homegirls No Gun educates Gen-Z about gun violence prevention legislation and ways they can get involved in Students Demand Action. The podcast was launched in November 2020 and its first season featured a diverse range of speakers like Congressman Jimmy Gomez and Cara Levine.

The podcast has been renewed for a second season and new episodes will start airing in July 2021.

2021 Proposal Winner 

To be determined!


Listen to 3 Homegirls No Gun

Summer Leadership Academy alumni Alè, Jamilex, and Julie hosts this riveting podcast to explore gun violence prevention legislation and what is happening in their community, Los Angeles, California.

Stay in the know: join our mailing list

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Become a host

Learn more about what it means to be a host for the the Summer Leadership Academy. Deadline for applying for 2022 is Midnight PST October 15, 2021.

Host Cities & Teams

2021 Cities & Teams

The Summer Leadership Academy is underway in 5 cities! Each host city is led by a core team from Students Demand Action. Learn more about these leaders and what the goals of each host city.

Looking ahead: 2022

Starting in Summer 2022, students will be able to compete locally and nationally to develop and implement their proposals. In this way, the proposal writing process will provide grassroots student organizers an infrastructure for scaling gun violence prevention initiatives all across the nation. 

  • Phase 1 – Local Competition: Students will compete with leaders in their summer program and design community and citywide initiatives. 
  • Phase 2 – Semifinals: After completing their proposal pilot (5-20 weeks), students will compete with summer program leaders for an opportunity to attend Gun Sense University.
  • Phase 3 – National Finals: Students will attend Gun Sense University to pitch their proposal and secure resources to scale their initiative nationwide.

Stay tuned for more details.