In Winter Institute’s “Why SYI?” video series, SYI alumni speak to the program’s lasting value

On Saturday, 28 rising Mississippi high school sophomores and juniors will arrive on the University of Mississippi campus for the sixth annual Summer Youth Institute. Reports from alumni of our first five years indicate that, for some, their lives are about to change.

Over nine days spent learning Mississippi’s civil rights history, traversing ropes courses, riding a bus to a Delta service project, processing new perspectives in trust-building discussion sessions, composing music, and, for the adventurous, doing early morning tai chi, these students will come to see their home state and their roles in their communities in a new way.

Each SYIer will return home having designed a project that combines an interest of their own with a need of their community, and having signed a two-year contract to develop the project.

Recently, our Youth Engagement coordinator, Melody Frierson, and Aida Solomon, a Wintern from the University of Washington, interviewed SYI alumni to learn of the effects the program, which is 100% free to all students, has had on them.

“Why SYI?” is what we’re calling the short films that resulted.

In the two-minute video above, SYI alumna Tia Toines, from Brandon, Miss., discusses that SYI made her know that she will like college, as well as the success of her project, “The Table of Brotherhood.”  “It’s not about the wrong,” Toines says. “It’s about the right that came out of it. It’s about what wrongs you can right now.”

We thank you for the support that allows us to offer SYI, which costs about $60,000, for free each June, and equip our youth with the desire to right wrongs now. Please click “Donate Now” to help fund SYI’s seventh year in 2016!

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