UrbanPromise Receives First Federal Funding through the NEA's Big Read Program!

The month of October will be filled with stories of survival, struggle, and sled dogs at UrbanPromise! Along with several partner organizations, our youth will be reading Jack London's The Call of the Wild through The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. UrbanPromise is among 78 nationwide organizations —and one of 28 first-time grantees —selected to receive grants totaling $1 million.

UrbanPromise hopes to engage a large number of readers of all ages by holding events throughout Pennsauken Township and Camden, New Jersey. Our partners include the Pennsauken Free Public Library, EducationWorks, the Ferry Avenue branch of the Camden County Library System, Rutgers-Camden University’s Paul Robeson Library, and BuildaBridge International.

"“This award is very important to UrbanPromise as it is our first federal funding and is focused on bringing a community together through the reading and study of the written word,”" said our executive director, Jodina Hicks. “"The Call of the Wild includes themes of struggle and survival. Although the setting is different from Camden, the book relates to the challenges faced by our children and teens in the city.”"

Programs based on the book will be held throughout the entire month of October and will include book discussions, film viewings, a kick-off event that showcases sleds made by UrbanPromise students and live sled dogs, theatre and visual arts workshops, and talks by Rutgers-Camden University professors. Join us for our kick-off on October 6th at 11:00 a.m. at UrbanPromise! The final calendar of events can be found at www.neabigread.org.

We encourage UrbanPromise friends and supporters of all ages and backgrounds to join us as we read The Call of the Wild. Extra copies of the book are available for those interested. Please contact Liz Getman at (609) 202-7638 or egetman@urbanpromiseusa.org to reserve a copy and sign up as one of UrbanPromise's Big Read-ers!

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. For more information, please visit www.neabigread.org.

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