News from
Office of Communications
Stanhope Hall, Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

Contact: Anne Swinton Ruggles (781) 891-4661

May 1, 2000

Princeton alumni and Boston public school celebrate mentoring program

Princeton, N.J.-- Ten years ago, Princeton University alumni began mentoring low-income students at Boston's Muriel S. Snowden International School, hoping to expose the students to a broad range of academic and non-academic opportunities. On May 2, Princeton President Harold Shapiro will meet the Snowden students and their mentors to honor their work and celebrate the program's anniversary.

Since it began, the Snowden / Princeton and Friends Mentoring Program, run by the Princeton Association of New England, has matched between 15 and 50 mentors each year with students at the public school. The commitment is substantial: Mentors must speak with their students at least once a week over the phone and meet with them at least twice a month. In addition, group meetings featuring speakers or entertainers are held at Boston's Old South Church once a month during the school year.

Shapiro's meeting with the Snowden students and Princeton alumni will take place May 2 at 1 p.m. at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street.

"I am proud of the effort made by everyone involved in this project to better prepare these students for challenges they will face after graduation from Snowden," Shapiro said. "We believe that the program has proved beneficial to both the students and alumni. In particular, we hope the students have achieved a greater understanding of their options and how to achieve their goals."

The students' participation in the voluntary program is itself a measure of how they value education, Shapiro said.

Anne Swinton Ruggles, the Princeton alumna who coordinates the mentoring program, said the high school students are a motivated group and that most plan to attend college. The mentors help the students prepare for the college experience by discussing both academic and social issues, although they are not tutors.

"Our emphasis is to expose the students to ideas and people they may not have come across before," Ruggles said.

At the meetings, the students hear from community professionals and leaders in a wide range of fields, providing both role models and career ideas, Ruggles said. The program has also provided a strong social network of students and alumni. Mentors and mentees generally remain together until the student graduates.

The Snowden International School has about 450 students, who come from all over Boston.

Among those attending the meeting May 2 will be FleetBoston Financial President Chad Gifford and Gail Snowden, daughter of Snowden School founder Muriel Snowden and an executive at FleetBoston Financial.