Blog: December 2010

Wednesday, December 29

Thank you for choosing to support UrbanPromise in 2010!

Your contributions helped us to carry out our mission “to equip Camden’s children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth and Christian leadership.” Together we:

• Engaged 520 children in safe, fun, educational and spiritual summer camps

• Educated 180 children and teenagers in our CamdenForward School (K-8) & UrbanPromise Academy (9-12) during the school year (CFS boasts 98% attendance rate this year!)

• Tutored and provided safe AfterSchool Programs for 230 children

• Employed 70 teenagers in our StreetLeader Program

• Celebrated as 100% of our seniors (StreetLeaders and UrbanPromise Academy) graduated from high school

• Assisted 14 out of 15 last year graduates in successfully completing their first semester of college (and the staff is still working on the last one!) and supported the other 54 former StreetLeaders during their sophomore, junior & senior years in college

• Hosted over 300 missions/workgroup participants

• Worked with 50 summer interns and 18 school-year interns, who spent their summer/ school-year in full time service at UrbanPromise

• Helped launch “UrbanPromise Miami” with the help of former StreetLeaders, who served as camp leadership and staff in Miami this past summer

• Sent a group of StreetLeaders on a mission trip to UrbanPromise Honduras

• Were blessed by over 80 consistent volunteers

• Provided thanksgiving meals to 800 people; distributed 1,500 Christmas presents to children who may not otherwise have received gifts; facilitated spring break trips for children and their families

• Exposed children and youth to colleges, churches, butterflies, ponies, camping under the Milky Way, swimming, sailing and boat building

• Built a community where God’s love, forgiveness, kindness, creativity and grace abound

Every day at UrbanPromise is a good day, because everyday lives are being touched; children are safe; young people are learning; teenagers are leading; and God is at work in our midst. Our lives, our community, our children and our youth are blessed by you, as you have allowed this tremendous ministry to open its doors everyday this year.


Jodina Hicks
Executive Director

PS. Contributions made by December 31, 2010 will be applied to the 2010 year. Click here to donate now.

PPS. If you are interested in giving a year-end gift of appreciated stock, please call my colleague, Lisa McSparron at (856) 661-1700 or email

Friday, December 24

Thank you...for helping us deliver hundreds of gifts to youth this Christmas!

Because of your generous donations over 1,500 wrapped gifts—basketballs, skateboards, books, jackets, dolls, shoes, mittens and more were delivered to the homes of our children and families who needed a little extra help this Christmas. (Plus we were able to meet our challenge match of $55,000!!!)


Monday, December 20

UrbanPromise Academy Students engage in cultural exchange with students from Clearview Regional High School.  For the fourth year in a row, students from Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill, NJ made the annual trip to UrbanPromise in Camden for a day of education and cultural exchange with Camden teens who attend the UrbanPromise Academy high school.

46 students from Ms. Jennifer Satterfield's Humanitarian Studies class at Clearview arrived at UrbanPromise in the morning of December 20th. Mr. Andy Joshua, Director of Children's Ministries at UrbanPromise, led the students on a tour of Camden to discuss the history of Camden and enlighten Clearview students to the socioeconomic issues facing Camden teens.

Clearview students engaged in a Q&A session with one of  UrbanPromise's AfterSchool Program directors, Albert Vega, who grew up in Camden and attended Camden High School.

Upon return to the UrbanPromise main campus Clearview Students had lunch with UrbanPromise Academy (9-12th grade) students, and engage in discussions and various activities led by Principal Demetrius Marlowe.

UrbanPromise Academy students look forward to spending a day at Clearview Regional High School in the spring.

[gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="2"]

Monday, December 13

Camden children get the gift of giving

Earnest, determined, and brimming with delight, scores of children trolled the aisles of a store in Camden on Sunday, gathering holiday gifts.Shopping baskets in hand, they picked out dozens of toys and trinkets, carefully weighing each choice.

"This is for my brother," said Ciyani Tokey, 6, as she held up a Disney Pixar cars paint set. She also got him gingerbread cookies and a Santa Claus lollipop.

For her mother, she chose chocolate-covered cherries and a tin of hard candy.

"And this," she said, pointing to a Disney Princess paint book, "is for me."

Ciyani was among 100 children who took part in a holiday shopping spree sponsored by UrbanPromise Ministries, a Christian organization that works with inner-city children. The group paid for the gifts the children selected for family and friends.

"There's just something rewarding about it," said Joshua Brady, who helped organize the event at the Dollar Tree on Mount Ephraim Avenue.

"You feel God's presence when you're watching over kids."

The shopping trip, for children ages 6 to 13, was meant to be a lesson in sharing. "The point is to try to get them to give," Brady said.

With an allotment of 10 gifts each, there was room enough for self reward. But most shoppers seemed to be focusing on others.

Toni Bronson, 10, filled her basket with gifts for her family.

"It's really nice to give to other people," she said.

For her mother, Toni chose a Christmas mug filled with candy. "I just have to figure out how to put it under the tree when she's not looking," she said.

For her 19-year-old sister, she picked up the paperback book, Retail Therapy: Life Lessons Learned While Shopping. For the family dog, Storm, she chose a stuffed pillow that said "#1 Pet."

And for her grandmother in Georgia, she bought a "dreamcatcher," a hanging mobile of feathers and string that when hung at someone's bedside promises to guard against bad dreams.

Her friend Monee Norman, 11, said she was grateful for the chance to buy gifts for her mother. Monee said she had asked her mother for money to buy her a Christmas gift.

"I asked if maybe I could get an allowance so maybe I could buy her something, and she said, 'Don't worry about it,' " Monee said. "But now, I'm going to get her a surprise."

In the end, she settled on a picture frame, a holiday mug filled with candy, violet-scented hand lotion, and a glass flower vase. And she was still able to buy presents for others, including an "FBI kit," complete with toy gun and plastic badge, for her brother.

On hand to help shoppers choose was Will Gass, 21, a volunteer with UrbanPromise who lived in Camden for four years as a child.

"I got out. I moved up," said Gass, who lives in Lindenwold. "But I know what it's like for these kids.

"It brings a lot of joy to my heart to see the smiles on their faces. It's all about the kids."

Read more:

Monday, December 6

The 5th grade students at the CamdenForward School have been busy reading books.  The class received 50 new books from Mr. Hoffman who lives in Wisconsin.

For the past few years, instead of exchanging gifts with his sister, Mr. Hoffman and his sister send money or items to different charities or organizations.  This year they chose our school!!! Mr. Hoffman chose 5th grade because he teaches 5th grade.  We are very fortunate for Mr. Hoffman and his family to make this donation.

Sunday, December 5

Subscribe to Blog: December 2010