Summer Social Justice Institute

Check back for information on the 2018 SSJI.

Gain a real understanding of urban poverty in the South with Martha O’Bryan Center’s Summer Social Justice Institute

This intensive, hands-on training program provides young adults a comprehensive, experiential understanding of poverty with experts from nonprofits and universities in Nashville, Tennessee.

Whether on-site or in the field, SSJI is an excellent opportunity for young professionals to build experience in different nonprofit career paths.  Building on a successful launch in the summer of 2015, this year SSJI offers two sessions to allow participants a deeper dive into their areas of interest. 

Our first session, in June, is for aspiring or early-career teachers, and will address the intersection of poverty and race in the  education system. Our second session, taking place in July, will examine the  realities of how organizations in the nonprofit sector form, survive and then put vision to action for community change.

Each session provides an accelerated education in the reality of poverty through experiences across several integrated social service and education programs.  These varied experiential learnings (in areas from food security to family education) connect to the session’s thematic focus. Mornings are spent across programs and schools in guided experiential learning. 

Students spend the afternoons matched with master practitioners on a data-driven, research-informed program improvement project to be started, completed and presented during the session.

Sponsored by Martha O’Bryan Center, located in Cayce Homes public housing, the Institute brings a diverse group of young adults together to examine root causes as well as solutions to systems of injustice, while developing leadership skills and career direction for participating students. Graduates of the program will be eligible for subsequent paid internships and AmeriCorps opportunities in Martha O’Bryan Center’s fifteen human service and education programs and schools.

Student will serve and learn as they:

  • support youth enrichment programs (including music, sports and recreation) with youth ages pre-Kindergarten to middle school, learning about education and human development in the process;
  • engage in door-to-door outreach with community members, connecting individuals and families with counseling services, school options and parenting programming;
  • interface with residents in food insecure homes, fulfilling nutrition needs and developing listening skills while collecting feedback on our food security program;
  • work side-by-side with resident volunteers on leadership development projects in our neighborhood, understanding a community's perspective in the process.

Summer Social Justice Institute will offer two sessions in 2016. Teacher Academy: Poverty, Race and Education will take place from June 6th to June 28th.  Our second session will be Systems for Justice: How Organizations Affect Community Change, July 5th - July 26th.