July 24th 2009
Most volunteers that come to UrbanPromise for the first time have a common idea of the city of Camden, in which the ministry was born and still operates. "It is a poor and dangerous city to live in" I heard people say over and over again. Yet, UrbanPromise always receives volunteers from all over the world who, after their one week stay, wish they could delay their departure even for a day.
The change of heart is caused by no one else but the children they meet in camps; their love and liveliness cannot fail to conquer anyone's heart. One of our recent volunteers from Arlington, Texas was surprised by how, after only three days, the kids knew his name and would run towards him every time they saw him, asking for nothing but a hug.
Over the years, some people who had come to UrbanPromise for the first time as one-week volunteers came back as summer long or year long interns, and others became part of the UP staff because it became impossible for them to permanently part ways with the experience they had had at UrbanPromise during their one-week stay.
Furthermore, UrbanPromise has served as a chief inspiration for folks around the world to found similar non-profit organizations. In 2005, for instance, YouthCare was founded to meet the needs of the children and youth of Malawi. There are also UrbanPromise programs in places like Wilmington (Delaware), Toronto (Ontario), and Vancouver (British Columbia) that were started with the help of the UrbanPromise located in Camden, New Jersey.