Giving Back

In the Spirit of Giving, Summit's Student / Partner Alliance 'Family' Gives Back

S/PA Mentors Tharita Lima and Donette Noel, of Chatham and Newark, respectively, share break time at the Community FoodBank on Nov 12th with their S/PA mentees from St. Vincent Academy. Credits: Student/Partner Alliance
Butler resident and long-time S/PA Mentor, Derek Boudreau (Rt) met his new S/PA student mentee, a freshman at Immaculate Conception in Montclair, at the Community FoodBank. Credits: Student/Partner Alliance
Short Hills resident + S/PA Mentor, Wendy Prager, her mentee S/PA student Shania (L), and daughters, Kiki and Savannah (Rt) enjoy helping out at the Community FoodBank. Credits: Student/Partner Alliance
S/PA Mentor + Morristown resident Eileen Walsh with her S/PA student mentee and friend, both from Marist High School in Bayonne, at the Community FoodBank of NJ. Credits: Student/Partner Alliance

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. 

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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.

For further information regarding Student/Partner Alliance, visit, or call Marianne Busby, Director of Marketing at 908-522-0405 or

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