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Explore social justice and education at UNF’s Bridges Summer Camp

The University of North Florida’s Center for Urban Education and Policy (CUEP) will host the annual free Bridges Summer Camp for high schoolers who want to learn about education and community building from racial equity, social justice and activist perspectives. The two-week virtual camp will meet from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays from Monday, July 5, through Friday, July 16.

The Bridges Camp experience features discussions and mentoring from notable, engaging guests who are on the cutting edge of social justice education and civil rights organizing. Student activists, organizers and leaders team up to mentor students in how to build communities that recognize education as an essential element in the fight for democracy and against all threats to it.

The program develops youth leadership skills among future educators and helps these young adults to recognize their power to lead community-focused efforts for greater justice and equity. It is a space where students can be heard, share, learn, grow, plan and act to be agents of change. The camp gives rising high school seniors a glimpse at the college life experience and explores how teaching changes lives and transforms communities with an ultimate goal of increasing diversity in the teacher pipeline into urban schools.

The UNF Bridges Summer Camp has taken place annually since 2019. Many of the past participants, like Shai Flores, a sophomore studying deaf education, are currently enrolled in UNF’s College of Education and Human Services and pursing teaching degrees because they were inspired by the Bridges Camp.

Students who have completed the camp have gone on to lead direct racial justice change initiates, such as Bridges Camp graduates Mykyla Hooper and Shacoria Davis, who recently led racial equity efforts at their school calling for the renaming of Robert E. Lee High School and other Duval County Public Schools.

“UNF’s Center for Urban Education and Policy is proud to serve as a space that allows our local high school students to learn, grow and share their ideas for social innovation and change,” said Dr. Chris Janson, CUEP director. “Their impact on the future of our community will be powerful.”

In addition to the Bridges Camp, the CUEP also hosts Youth Leadership Learning Exchange and Civil Learning Exchange workshop programs for local youth.