Local Non-Profit Builds Resilience among Camden Youth

CAMDEN, NJ: During 2014, UrbanPromise implemented a series of workshops and training for staff that were focused on promoting resilience in youth. A $30,000 grant from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey allowed the non-profit to develop curriculum that is specific to the needs of their youth.

UrbanPromise’s Wellness Center Director, Rebecca Bryan MSN, NP, has focused on educating staff about the impact of traumatic experiences in the lives of the youth they serve on a daily basis. Based on findings in the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, which demonstrates a strong correlation between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being, Ms. Bryan aims to help staff and youth identify adversities that contribute to depressed mood and behavior issues then build resilience to reduce the long-term impact of such experiences.

After screening 92 teens, ages 14-19, using the ACE questionnaire, UrbanPromise found that 52% had at least 3 ACEs and 30% had at least 4 ACEs: putting them at high risk of chronic mental and physical disease throughout their lifetimes. Their responses showed that:

•   64% experienced racism

•   49% have a family member that has been incarcerated

•   43% are being raised by a single parent

•   60% have lost someone close to them due to illness or accident

•   50% have had a parent go through a time when they could’t find a job

With support from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, 50 staff received training and started implementing curriculum with more than 600 children and youth annually. Workshops focused on emotional intelligence as well as practical exercises to increase confidence in initiating and facilitating difficult conversations with youth or parents. A former program participant who now works on staff shared, “This kind of training will make it more likely for our youth to succeed in college. We will have more successful kids and therefore be a more successful ministry.” In addition, UrbanPromise was able to provide individual therapeutic counseling for the first time, reaching 10 students in the first year of implementation. Ms. Bryan shared, “This is the foundation of what we see as a long-term shift in organizational culture that will further our mission by promoting healing and empowerment among youth.”

About The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is celebrating 10 years of serving New Jersey’s communities. The Foundation promotes health, well-being, and quality of life across our state by supporting charitable organizations.  For more information about the Foundation, visit www.horizonblue.com/foundation.

About UrbanPromise

UrbanPromise is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children and youth with the support they need to succeed academically, grow spiritually, and prepare for leadership that will bring positive change to their communities. This is accomplished through after-school programs, summer camps, job training, two schools, experiential learning, and a host of other enrichment activities. To learn more, please visit www.urbanpromiseusa.org.