Meet Our 2022 Summer Innovation Fellows

April 14, 2022

Congratulations to our 2022 Summer Innovation Fellows!

Summer Innovation Fellows

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) believes summer learning programs provide a unique and flexible opportunity for leaders to try out and measure the effectiveness of new ideas and strategies, creative partnerships, and policies before scaling. The severity and enormity of the societal challenges we are facing in America require entrepreneurial leaders to pursue innovative solutions. NSLA created its Summer Innovation Fellowship Program to empower summer program leaders of color who are innovating the out-of-school time field in service to youth.

NSLA would like to congratulate our 2022 Summer Innovation Fellows. Through generous support from our partners, our partners will receive:

  • $20,000 towards implementing an in-person, virtual or hybrid summer learning program
  • A personal NSLA Coach to work with them regularly in their planning
  • Access to NSLA tools, resources, and events to support their work
  • Mentoring opportunities with experienced role models and leaders in the field
  • Free registration to NSLA’s annual Summer Changes Everything national conference

Preview the application here!

Apply here!

For more information, email Leslie Gabay-Swanston, Director of External Affairs, at

Congratulations to:

Simone Gamble

Simone Gamble (they/them/she/her) is an NYC-based community organizer and founder of the JEDI consultancy OAAARS. OAAARS is a people of color-led consultancy that provides social justice-centered training and education to workplaces looking to create saf(er), equitable, and inclusive work environments. We provide folks with the tools to become agents of change in the workplace and beyond.

Fiver’s Whole Self program consists of social and emotional components that enable youth to learn, practice, and exemplify Fiver values and attributes wherever they go. These character traits help youth develop resilience and they serve as protective factors combatting the stressors that negatively impact their mental health. Simone will be revising the Whole Self Curriculum with a racial equity lens and adding new program components that reflect Fiver’s goals to instill youth with the skills required to be engaged leaders and compassionately confront prejudices and systems of oppression that directly impact their lives.

Lerel Frederick

Lerel Frederick is an experienced music educator, consultant, and leader in the music industry. Born and raised in Fort Pierce, he understands the needs of the community and knows first-hand how transformative and meaningful quality education, the arts, and access to culturally enriching experiences can be. He founded the ZOE LIVE Creative Arts Academy (ZLCAA) in 2016, and continues to serve as the Executive Director, with the vision of impacting the lives of youth and the general community through excellence in music education and performance.

Lerel will be creating a partnership between ZLCAA, Indian River State College and Horizons National to establish the first Horizons program in Florida. Horizons National programs have a long track record of success, student impact and sustainability. ZLCAA will lead the proposed program locally and infuse their approach and focus on arts and music to complement the proven Horizons program.