Siomara Wedderburn proudly represents UrbanPromise and Camden, NJ as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders.
Wedderburn grew up attending UrbanPromise programs and working in the sought-after position of “StreetLeader”, serving as a peer mentor to younger children in UrbanPromise’s after school programs and summer camps. Wedderburn’s commitment led her to excel as a student, a social worker, a youth advocate, a community leader, a parent and now, as the Director of Wellness at UrbanPromise.
Wedderburn’s selection into this program places her among a distinguished group of national leaders, committed to establishing a culture of health in our region and addressing issues of health equity across our nation. Co-Director of the Culture of Health Leaders Program, Natalie S. Burke says, “Regardless of their sector, stage in life or careers, Culture of Health Leaders will engage in creating an alternative future, one in which all people have equitable opportunities for their best possible health and well-being.”
As she participates in the esteemed program, Wedderburn “will continue to be an integral part of UrbanPromise’s Leadership Team, helping [them] further cultivate an environment where the well-being of UrbanPromise students is paramount. She has been instrumental in spearheading UrbanPromise’s organizational shift to being trauma-informed and helping [them] address the current needs of the community. The learning, wisdom and relationships she gleans from this experience will greatly enhance our work in the City of Camden and other affiliate sites around the world,” says Executive Director, Dr. Bruce Main.
Wedderburn expresses her acceptance into the program as being a full-circle moment, having grown up participating in UrbanPromise’s programs and eventually becoming a leader in UrbanPromise’s community and staff. “Growing up in the City of Camden, I understand first-hand the challenges our families face. I also understand that helping needs to be rooted in a deeper understanding of the systemic issues that limit access, support the status quo and continue to marginalize urban communities.” Wedderburn shares her vision, “The work of the Wellness Program at UrbanPromise is rooted in the belief that our children and youth are resilient and worthy of living in a society where their well-being is a priority. We seek to walk life alongside our families and support them in thriving, not just surviving. It is an honor to have our work recognized and to be selected as a 2020 Culture of Health Leader. I look forward to partnering with other change agents in our area to promote a culture of health that seeks to address the current needs of our community and to learning from national leaders all over the country already impacting change on the front lines. Thank you to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this amazing opportunity!”
Culture of Health Leaders is a national leadership program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It fosters collaboration—among people from all fields and professions that have an influence on people’s health—to build just and thriving communities. The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of the program or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information, please visit www.cultureofhealth-leaders.org.