This summer, 50 disadvantaged middle-school students from New York and Boston will attend art and music camp, thanks to our Tiger of the Week, Cameron Snaith ’00, and a group of young Princeton alumni who raised funds to provide scholarships to the children through the all-volunteer organization Giving Opportunities to Others (GOTO).
Since Snaith founded GOTO in 2001, the nonprofit has raised about $1 million and sent some 120 students to four-week, sleep-away art camps -- Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in Elmer, N.J., and Camp Med-O-Lark in Washington, Maine -- where they stretch their creative muscles, gain confidence, and share their interests with other students and counselors, all in rustic settings.
GOTO partners with schools in the five boroughs of New York City and in Boston and evaluates nominations from principals and art educators. GOTO volunteers aren't looking for protÃ©gÃ©s and they don't consider grades. All that is required is an appreciation for the arts and a desire to learn more.
The students are funded for three years of camp. "There may not be a ton of stability in the lives of these disadvantaged kids," Snaith says. "One thing we wanted to prove to our students is that we are on organization that supports them over the longterm." To do that, the volunteers raise about $200,000 each year. "It's not an easy task," says Snaith, who has help from Princeton friends, including Jason Liddell ’99, Stephen Moeller ’99, Rainah Berlowitz ’97, Geoffrey Adamson ’99, and Melanie Laird ’02.
After graduating from the program, the scholars remain part of the GOTO family through its mentoring program. GOTO volunteers offer advice and invite the alumni to plays, tours of Broadway sets -- "anything that we can do to expand their horizons," says Snaith, a senior manager for the marketing partnerships division of the NBA and WNBA.
An alto saxophone player in high school, Snaith decided to start GOTO after working for Midori and Friends, a Princeton Project 55 program that raises money for musical programs in New York public schools. He realized that "not all of the kids that go to schools in New York have the opportunity to express themselves through music and the arts. That was eye-opening," says Snaith. "I didn't realize how lucky I was." By Katherine Federici Greenwood
Photo: Cameron Snaith ’00, right, with GOTO scholarship student Joseph Gordon. (Courtesy of Cameron Snaith ’00)
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