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Urban Promise

When you walk through the big red double doors of Urban Promise and look around you, you see kids’ artwork. They may not be Van Gogh or Picasso, but it is valuable all the same. This is why Urban Promise is here: to give children a sense of value.

For years, Urban Promise has made service its mission: to serve Camden by bringing a sense of self-actualization to the city through Christ’s love.

In 1988, Urban Promise began with $12,000 of funding and held extracurricular programs in the Rosedale Baptist Church in Camden. It was a project started by Dr. Tony Campolo, in partnership with Bruce Main, as an extension of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.

Over the next five years, Urban Promise grew from one location to ten, hosted in different churches and communities in Camden. Since then, it has grown even further into classrooms and even across borders.

In a Windows on the World session this semester, Main addressed the topic of a lack of love, meaning and hope for children. He said, “Who better to speak to those realities than the body of Christ? … We’re people about love. The Bible is about speaking to these issues of love, meaning and hope.”

Today, Urban Promise has satellite locations in Vancouver, Wilmington, Malawi, Africa, Toronto, Honduras and Miami. Jodina Hicks, executive director at Urban Promise, feels that it is possible to add even more location, as long as there is funding for such future projects.

This summer, an Urban Promise Trenton location is opening up and being headed by Urban Promise alum.

Not only does Urban Promise offer after school programs and summer camps, but it also offers career opportunities for neighborhood teenagers. They employ 100 or more teenagers at a time who become among other things street leaders, mentors and tutors.

“It’s a foundation for young people to be able to earn money and help support their families,” Hicks said. “Their job is to go through job training and to help run our after school programs and summer camps. They are a foundational point in running our program. It’s a great way for teenagers to build leadership skills. It helps them to shape who they are because they are put in the position of leadership.”

The students involved in these leadership programs receive to be present for school, have good grades and participate in programs. Teens employed at Urban Promise have a practical resource at their fingertips by simply being

employed.   

Urban Promise works to convey the love of Christ to those who may not otherwise see it. There are so many good and encouraging things about Urban Promise that, secretary Lynn Trotter voiced only one complaint: “It’s contagious.”

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