2018 Tribute Honorees

Fern Spruill

YMCA Committed and Faithful Princetonians

Fern Spruill has long been a dedicated volunteer, advocate, and activist for justice and education, with a focus on serving the youth, in the Princeton community. In 2004 Fern, with her husband Larry, and concerned local men of color founded a community – based grassroots organization, Committed Princetonians. The group was created to help young men of color, ages 11 to 18, achieve academic, social, and personal goals in a safe, nurturing, and positive environment.

As the group continued to evolve, Fern recognized the need for young women to have similar support and guidance. As a result, in 2009 with the collaboration and assistance of other community groups, Committed and Faithful Princetonians (CFP) was established and for the first time, young women were included in the organization. The group has been strong and active since then for the past 13 years and in 2011 joined forces with the Princeton family YMCA. The group meets bi-weekly at the John Witherspoon School where they enjoy dinner, engage in discussions about values and choices, plan and conduct community service projects, hear inspirational speakers, and partake in stimulating and interesting field trips – all with the support of loyal parent volunteers recruited by Fern and Larry.

Fern has brought this same energy to her involvement in the Princeton Public schools with her service on the Minority Education Committee of the Princeton Board of Education and her three years’ service on the Princeton Board of Education (2014 -2017) as a member of both the Facilities and Student Achievement Committees. Additionally, she has worked to advocate on behalf of students of color, promote positive educational policy, and practices, and encouraged and supported parents to understand the importance of parental involvement in academic life. On January 16, 2018, Fern became a member of the Princeton Civil Rights Commission.

Fern lives in Princeton with her husband Larry, where she still enjoys a good laugh and cooking for her 5 grandchildren and honorary children in the Princeton area.