SUMMIT, NJ - Summit-based Student / Partner Alliance (S/PA), which supports inner city high school students in New Jersey with private school tuition assistance and mentoring to increase their chances for college admission and scholarships, hosted their annual fall community service event at the Community FoodBank of NJ.
“This is a perfect time of year for the students to participate in a grass roots service so close to Thanksgiving time, when they can see how their efforts can really make a difference for another young person’s enjoyment of the holidays,” said Margaret Momber, Executive Director of S/PA.
More than 140 people, all a part of the greater S/PA “family,” crowded into the meeting room to hear about the community they’d be helping and what sort of jobs they’d be assigned. About 90 students who receive scholarships met with 50 of their adult mentors and some parents to work side-by-side amid much conversation and rousing music.
This event brings S/PA high school students from eight eight inner-city private schools together with their Partners and Mentors from several surrounding communities, including Summit, Short Hills, Chatham, Maplewood, Westfield, and Montclair and Morristown.
Jean Pacuiti, a resident of Mountainside and an Immaculate Conception alum who now mentors a student at her alma mater through the S/PA program remarked that, “The students were so polite, friendly, interesting – we even had some great political discussions! I am so happy to be part of this program where we can all benefit from each other’s perspectives and experiences.”
“We already know that this is a favorite activity for all involved with the S/PA program, but this year I received so many 'Thank You's' from adult mentors and students alike, telling us what a great time they’d had – It was so gratifying to hear that," said S/PA Marketing Director, Marianne Busby.
Student / Partner Alliance has been awarding scholarships and mentoring to inner-city high school students since 1993. To date, S/PA has awarded more than 1,850 scholarships. Students wishing to attend private schools in their neighborhoods, but unable to meet tuition requirements apply to S/PA for financial assistance. A unique benefit to the program is that each student is matched with a mentor who stays with that student throughout the four years of his / her high school experience. Mentoring has been linked to improved academic, social and economic prospects for young people, which ultimately strengthens our communities.