photo of Nicole Moore Samson

Nicole Moore Samson '91

“I am working in a position that has the possibility of changing a child's life forever” says Nicole Moore Samson '91. Since last fall, she has been coordinator of the Princeton Young Achievers program, designed to “equalize the playing field” for low income and disadvantaged youth in the Princeton, NJ Regional Schools.

Students K-12 enrolled in the PYA program receive homework assistance from certified teachers and aides at one of three centers located in low and affordable housing complexes within the city. Here they receive academic support, complete their homework in a quiet and nurturing environment, and use computers with Internet access. Relying heavily on volunteer and community support, PYA is funded through a partnership between school and housing authorities, supplemented by fund raising and grants.

This year a record number of students have registered in the program. Teachers have informed Nicole of the noticeable improvement in the performance and study habits of their students who participate in PYA.

Nicole has big plans for the program: “My vision for PYA is to expand beyond homework support. I would like to see the community learning centers as places that also provide children with extra-curricular and academic enrichment activities. I would also like to see children return to the learning centers later in the evenings for activities such as science enrichment, drama coaching or music lessons. In addition, I would like to see funding become available for summer programming at each of the three learning centers since children have a tendency to lose so much academic knowledge in the summer months.

“Our goal is to support and reinforce what schools are already doing. We want our children to be as successful as their peers, even if they do not have the same economic and social advantages.”

If you'd like to contact Nicole regarding PYA, feel free to e-mail her.

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