April 16th 2010
Courier Post • Reader Submitted • April 5, 2010
Mount Laurel, NJ, March 30, 2010: This afternoon many Mount Laurel young athletes and their families hosted an Easter party for the UrbanPromise afterschool program at their facility in Pennsauken, New Jersey. The young athletes goal was try to provide support to some of the less fortunate children from Camden in an effort to allow them to flourish. Jackie Galaida, the events coordinator, said, “I think this will be valuable for our children to have the understanding that they have the power to help other children.”
In late February Jackie Galaida, a Mount Laurel mom, sent out an email to many of her children's friends parents saying, “Most of us saw the movie The Blind Side which showed how one teenager was able to flourish when given a safe and supportive environment. I'm amazed at how little our children understand how fortunate they are to have so many things they take for granted not just video games and vacations, but even things like a safe home and parents to support them.“ That is what prompted her with the idea to give back by hosting an Easter party.
The kids were involved every step of the way- from the initial meeting deciding what age/gender appropriate Easter basket items the kids would like to the Easter basket stuffing party, craft preparation and setting up for the party for the 25 children in the program. Fun was to be had by all and it was an excellent opportunity for the young athletes to meet and interact with the children from the school by playing freeze dance, bingo, face painting, crafts, egg races and of course many yummy snacks.
Jackie Galaida researched several programs and thought UrbanPromise was a good non-profit organization to help. Their mission is “to equip Camden's children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth and Christian leadership.” You can learn more about UrbanPromise by visiting their website at www.urbanpromiseusa.org. They have their own private school for children in grades K-8. Although the annual cost per student is in excess of $7,500, the families only pay a small portion of this. They run an afterschool program for their private school, and 5 other afterschool programs for children throughout Camden. In addition, they have a high school for at risk students and a StreetLeader program where they hire area teens to work as a counselor, mentor, tutor, etc. for children in their after school and summer camp programs.
Mount Laurel's young athletes hope to host an Easter party again next year and maybe support UrbanPromise in other ways down the road.