Blog: April 2008

Wednesday, April 23

As the kids returned from their spring break trips, the stories began. Kids were smiling, and joking, reliving, in detail, each moment of their travels outside of Camden. The other kids were intently listening and laughing at their friend’s exploits. Stories that will be told for years and years, bringing a thirst for exploration to everyone that hears.

I’m amazed at the impact and vision it gives a kid, as they experience a world outside of Camden. There eyes are open to a new way of life. Similar, I guess, to the way my eyes were open when I first came to Camden. I had never experienced such amazing children, living in such a harsh environment. Parks covered with broken beer bottles and drug needles. Streets where sewage leaks out of the gutter after a heavy rain. Houses where roaches infest the walls and some children sleep without beds. The reality of living in poverty can be overwhelming. It is hard to see as a kid loses hope of a brighter future.

That’s why I’m always struck with emotion as I hear kids tell of the tails that happened on their Spring Break Trip. Because even though I know their environment is the same, I know their world has changed.

Thank you to everyone that sponsored our trips, I can’t think of a better investment than the dreams of children.

Joshua Brady
Co-Director of Children’s Ministry

Thursday, April 10

After 7 years in Urban Ministry, I have seen some amazing success stories but also my share of heartache. I have seen too many kid’s lives gone before it feels like they had a chance to get started. Sometimes what feels the worst is the number of kids you know you could help, if only you had more time and resources? The need for kids to be invested in is so great, especially in Camden where 50% of the population is under 21 years old. The question is, how do we get more people involved?

That question was answered in a dramatic fashion as a few ladies in Haddonfield had watched the 20/20 show and decided they wanted to do something. These enthusiastic ladies decided they were going to call themselves Suburban Promise and connect people and resources to our ministry and it turns out they really meant it.

In the past year, we have had numerous volunteers connected to Suburban Promise come in to help out with everything from the Extreme Homemaker show to tutoring programs for the kids. They have provided hundreds of Christmas presents for kids, hundreds of candy bags for the Harvest Carnival, and food for Thanksgiving Dinners that fed around 3,000 people. They also helped us fundraise for several of our children’s trips as well as having Urban Promise interns over to their houses for a nice meal.

They have done all these things and have never seen the smiles on the kids faces or heard mothers say bless you (in what feels like a thousand times) as you drop off gifts to their houses. They will probably never hear as the kids regularly talk about the fond and vivid memories they have of the trips they’ve been on with UrbanPromise. For these ladies, it has never been about what they see, or experience, it’s been about what the children see and experience. They are promise builders. For the lives they impacted and the encouragement they have been, I am deeply thankful.

Josh Brady
UrbanPromise Children’s Ministry

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