PYC Social Pioneers FAQs

Who can apply?

 Any student entering grades 8-12 in any of the greater Princeton area schools in the Fall of 2019 with an idea for how to make their community better.

What are some sample project ideas?

Project topics can include ones that participants feel passionately about. Topics can include:

  • Environmental sustainability

  • Health and wellness

  • Diversity, inclusion and creating a welcoming community for all

  • Arts and culture

  • Education


Working with the town public works and shade tree commission to improve green spaces in town, the project includes organizing a volunteer day for community members to help re-plant trees and plant life affected by storm damage. The project identifies native tree and plant life most suitable for local New Jersey wildlife.


Purchasing school supplies can be difficult for some families with fewer resources. The project starts with organizing a drive to collect gently worn backpacks and then collects donations of necessary school supplies to fill the backpacks. The school supplies are then distributed to kids in the community who need the assistance.


Older citizens in the community can benefit from more health and wellness programs. This project helps coordinate mindfulness sessions for these members of the community at the local senior center. Sessions are conducted in multiple languages to meet the needs of the seniors in the community.


An elementary school in a neighboring community is in need of some sprucing up. This project helps organize a group of high school students who volunteer their time to help spruce up the school, including painting a mural with images of the many nations and cultures to which the students at the school have a connection.

What does the program cost?

 The program is fully funded by the Princeton Youth Program for Civic Engagement, our partners and sponsors. This includes providing some initial seed funding for the participant projects.  

Who delivers the program and how long does it go for? 

 The Program begins during the fall of 2019 and runs for 16 weeks. PYC Social Pioneers is sponsored by the Princeton Youth Program for Civic Engagement and by a team of expert facilitators who work with participants throughout the program, including three mandatory in-person workshops and the final pitch session.    

Workshop #1:  The first workshop sets expectations and goals for the program and gives participants, mentors, and program facilitators a chance to get to know each other. The first workshop will be used by participants to exchange project ideas and inspires the participants on how they may respond. 

Workshop #2:  The second workshop is designed to develop the technical, enterprise and personal skills of participants and help them evolve and development their project structure, approach and purpose.   This workshop will be led by expert facilitators and participants will have a chance to meet experienced entrepreneurs.

Workshop #3:  After spending time on their own further developing and refining their project, participants will start to focus on communicating and pitching their ideas.

Pitch Day:  This day is the highlight of the program.  Pioneers participate in a live pitch to a panel of judges in front of an audience for some initial funding for their project

Will I need to attend all the workshops?

Participants must commit to attending all of the workshops as part of the application process, or lose the opportunity to pitch for funding. 

How does the pitch for funding work?

 All participants will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for some initial funding of their project or initiative.  All projects in the program will be eligible for some funding.  

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

Applicants who apply for the 2019 program will be informed of the outcome of their application by the end of September.

 What if I have another question?

 Please send it to and we will get back to you within a few days.