You are the anchor!

As a child, I took stability for granted.

I lived in the same house, attended the same school, slept in the same bed, studied at the same desk each year, and always knew where my school clothes were hanging. 

I had little appreciation for the life-transforming gift of predictability.

A subject that is seldom mentioned in discussion of the issues confronting Camden is the mobility of families, and how it affects children.

Mobility may seem to be a benign concept having limited social implications….unless you are a child who moves two or three times a year. Tragically, Camden, New Jersey, has one of the highest mobility rates in the country, topping out around 37% (that’s 27% above the state average).  

Many of us never experienced the fear of walking into a new classroom mid-year, knowing we were 3 months behind the class. Never did we have to experience the anxiety of trying to learn a new locker combination multiple times a year, never did we lose our position on our beloved athletic team due to a mid-season move out of the district, and never did we have to spend hours looking for lost dictionaries or calculators,  school supplies recklessly thrown to the curb in a garbage bag because our family was unexpectedly evicted.     

Sadly, many children at UrbanPromise experience these circumstances.      

Sixth grader Deja is an example. A bright girl, Deja really loves our Camp Freedom. She never misses a day. The counselors are her best friends. She’s one of those kids who always seek extra tutoring just so she’ll be perfect—and she never misses the snacks. Camp Freedom is home for Deja. It’s family. It’s a place where she’s allowed to be a kid.


Recently, however, Deja’s mother had to move out of south Camden, over to the east side of town. Due to certain circumstances, she lost custody of Deja. Fortunately, her aunt stepped in to help. Without a choice, Deja had to move, and consequently, she had to give up her place at Camp Freedom.

“She begged me,” declared Camp Director Tony Vega as he was telling me the story, “She wanted me to drive across town to pick her up—every morning! Well, since I knew her home situation, I decided to help. I was clear, ‘Deja, if you stand outside your home at 6 am every morning, I’ll change my route and pick you up for Summer Camp.” 

“But, if you’re not standing there waiting, I’ll not stop,” Tony firmly promised, and with a smile said, “6 am sharp, or no ride.”

It’s no surprise that determined Deja was ready and waiting every morning. Deja’s early morning readiness made a statement. She needed and wanted stability. When life is tumultuous, children need an anchor. UrbanPromise’s Camp Freedom and our AfterSchool Programs are where children experience warm and caring stability.

Jesus told a powerful and intriguing story in Luke 15. It was about a shepherd who left the 99 sheep he was tending to rescue just one lamb that had wandered off. It’s a compelling and challenging parable, affirming the individual as important to God. It warmly shouts that in God’s economy, everyone matters.

When I read Jesus’ parable, I think of Deja, Tony, and all that makes UrbanPromise a special and unique organization.

Like the shepherd who watches over his flocks, leaders like Tony Vega are fighting for the lives of Camden kids every day, refusing to let any child fall prey to the chaos and instability of their environment.    

Currently, there are 167 children like Deja who still need sponsors for this school year.  

For just a dollar a day—$30 a month—you can provide stability in the face of turmoil, and change a child’s life.

Thank you in advance for your help!When I read Jesus’ parable, I think of Deja, Tony, and all that makes UrbanPromise a special and unique organization.

Like the shepherd who watches over his flocks, leaders like Tony Vega are fighting for the lives of Camden kids every day, refusing to let any child fall prey to the chaos and instability of their environment.    

Currently, there are 167 children like Deja who still need sponsors for this school year.  

For just a dollar a day—$30 a month—you can provide stability in the face of turmoil, and change a child’s life.

DONATE NOW »

Thank you in advance for your help!

Bruce Main
President
UrbanPromise

P.S. I've included a poem that Deja recently wrote about going to UrbanPromise.  

FREEDOM KID
By Deja Peterson

I am more than what ears can hear,
than the eye can see,
Than that voice that cries out in the silence
The whispers you hear on the streets
The moonlight, the sunset, the ocean waves
A child’s laughter
I’m more than you could ever imagine
More than what stereotypes see
The end and beginning
Start to the finish
Excitement of love
I’m life’s kisses and hugs
What’s my name again, you ask? 
If I answer you’ll double-take and gasp
Am I the stereotypical image of Camden. No. 
I’m a Camp Freedom kid.