Blog: December 2020

Thursday, December 10

“When you look back on your time at UrbanPromise,” I asked, “what’s your most memorable moment?”  

Fourteen years have passed since Jeanine attended our high school. Now married to Kyrus, (her high school sweetheart), for thirteen years, a mother of two beautiful children, a Master’s Degree in criminal justice and a successful career within the NJ court system as the Assistant Criminal Division Manager, Jeanine responded with little hesitation.

“I got pregnant my junior year of high school,” she reminisced. “I thought my life was essentially over. I lost confidence. I felt shame. I was ready to drop out.”

At that critical moment something significant happened. One day the director of our experiential learning program, Mr. Cummings, asked Jeanine to stop by his office. 
“I wasn’t sure why I was being called to his office,” she continued. “But here’s what I remember: Mr ‘C’ told me that I had tremendous potential, that God loves me, my life aspirations could still be attained and that I would graduate from high school and go into college.  Those words changed my life.” 

Fascinating. Fourteen long years since leaving UrbanPromise, Jeanine’s memorable moment did not revolve around a well-planned teaching module, an exciting UrbanTrekker trip, a Bible study or even a summer job. 

Her memorable moment occurred in the middle of an unplanned crisis—a moment of real, painful, soul-shaking adversity. 

Life happens. Sure, programs are vital and essential. But often it’s a crisis that can define our lives. Jeanine’s life was spiraling downward, when an UrbanPromise staff worker showed up with the right words—words that gave her the courage to persevere.

I’ll be candid. The potential long-term impact of this pandemic on the social, emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological well-being of our children is keeping me up at night. My staff remind me daily that this is a crisis.

For many of our young people, this crisis will define their lives.  The right adults, with the right words, at the right moment will make the difference. 

  • Our staff must be available for emergency phone calls and texts.
  • Our teachers must be available for extra online tutoring.
  • Our Food Co-Op must be open to meet the increased demands of our families.
  • Our counselors must be available for kids dealing with anxiety and depression.
  • Our Trekkers team must be available for coordinating safe, outdoor activities so kids can get out of their homes.

UrbanPromise needs to remain vital.

The final days of 2020 will decide whether many non-profit organizations, like UrbanPromise, make it through the spring of 2021.

With regular spring fundraising events cancelled and economic forecasts unclear, there’s a lot of uncertainty. December needs to be a strong giving month. 

Fortunately seven of our concerned donors have pooled their year-end gifts to offer a dollar-for-dollar match to the first $175,000.

Yes, the first $175,000 cash or stock gift or pledge (monthly or quarterly) will be DOUBLED between now and December 31st, 2020.

Like you, these generous friends want the UrbanPromise community to keep showing up for young people like Jeanine—children and teens who need our staff.

I look forward to hearing from you in the next few weeks. In advance I’m grateful for your generosity.

A wonderful Christmas to you and your family.

Bruce Main
Founder & President

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