The annual Soul of the City youth leadership program uses the city of Washington and its unique neighborhoods and culture as a classroom.
Each year, in partnership with the Summer Youth Employment Program, the council takes a group of 20-50 young people on a vacation to their own city! Students take neighborhood tours, meet with scholars, interview residents, take photographs, and create a final media project documenting the entire experience. Each Soul of the City program is a little different, but by the end all participants:
- Gain a new understanding of DC and their role in the city
- Learn about DC’s local, national, and international dimensions
- Gain practical skills in technology, project management, and new media
- Learn how to be leaders and work as part of a team
In 2016, The Pulitzer Prize board awarded $40,000 to the council for two summer Soul of the City programs to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Prizes through the Pulitzer Campfires initiative. The programs featured Pulitzer Prize-winning work in journalism, arts and letters, and music. The students engaged with local Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to discuss the values these disciplines represent as well as to learn journalism skills.
Soul of the City was also selected as a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards Finalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities!