September 16th 2012
From a distance, I’ve always admired the work of Father Greg Boyle and his ministry Homeboy Industries. For years, Father Greg has offered job training and employment to former gang members and the recently incarcerated in Los Angeles, CA. Through several social enterprises, he encourages young people to abandon their destructive lifestyles and become contributing members of society.
Father Greg seeks to tell each of his “homeboys” the following: “They are exactly what God had in mind when God made them. Then we watch, from this privileged place, as people inhabit this truth: [that] you need to dismantle shame and disgrace, coaxing out the truth in people who’ve grown comfortable believing the opposite.”
For the past 25 years, UrbanPromise has shared a similar message with the children and teens of Camden, NJ. Within each of our programs, our team reminds our young people that regardless of where they are from, the shape of their body, their grade point average, or family income—they are exactly what God had in mind when He made them. We remind our youth that they do not need to change to gain God’s love. God loves them regardless of who they are and what they’ve done.
The most exciting part of this message is the way it impacts our young people—the changes that result as they “inhabit this truth” and embrace an outlook rooted in the assurance of God’s love. As they begin to dismantle the shame and disgrace they’ve internalized, their attitudes begin to change. And when attitudes change, transformation occurs. Transforming young lives is the center of UrbanPromise’s mission and vision.
Our community looks forward to celebrating 25 years in Camden with you! Thank you for supporting us in this journey.