When Jim Farrin and other volunteers started the Petey Greene Program, they knew that having tutors would be beneficial for the incarcerated people and that the prisons would appreciate the free labor to augment prison educational programs already in place. But there was unexpected icing on the cake. “We didn’t know the volunteer tutors from the universities and the community would get so much from this experience,” he says.
This spring the Princeton chapter of the program had 98 volunteers. Most were Princeton University students but almost 10 were community members. Two of them have won the volunteer-of-the-year award at the Albert C. Wagner Correctional Facility in Bordentown two years in a row.
The program would love to have more community members.
Farrin looks for volunteers willing to commit to going to a facility (which is how the Petey Greene Program refers to a jail or prison) once a week for a three-hour period, Monday to Friday, during the fall or spring semester. They can drive themselves or go in the van that leaves from near Firestone Library.
“We are looking for 90-percent attendance; maybe all but one or two times,” Farrin says. “Attendance is very important; once you make a commitment, people who are incarcerated very much want you to come each and every time.”