Blog: November 2015

Wednesday, November 25

We are thankful. 

This week hundreds of youth and their families were served a delicious Thanksgiving meal at UrbanPromise.  Another 141 families were blessed with a turkey and food to take home and cook for their family and friends on Thanksgiving Day.  There was fellowship, dancing, great food, singing, laughter, and a new favorite this year - a Connect Four tournament after dinner. Because of you we have had an amazing week!

On behalf of the children, youth, families and staff of UrbanPromise we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Special thanks to the following groups that organized volunteers to serve, cooked food, collected turkeys, or gave monitory donations.

Association Headquarters, Moorestown High School, Lockheed Martin, Cathedral Kitchen, Safety Bus, Logan Memorial Presbyterian, St. Charles Borromeo, Colorstone Gardens, as well as our individual volunteers and donors!

Friday, November 13

 “A lot of kids don’t have a typical Thanksgiving,” lamented Tony Vega. “You know: turkey, yams…and all that sit-down family stuff. It just doesn’t happen.”

Tony Vega has been involved with UrbanPromise for many years. Growing up in North Camden, he connected with our after-school program when he was 6 years old. Now 23 years later, Tony directs one of those after-school programs, reaching children on the south side of the city. After earning a degree in history from Eastern University, Tony chose to come back to his city and invest in the lives of youth. He’s one of the terrific UrbanPromise success stories.  

“Some of my favorite family memories are the Thanksgiving dinners we had at UrbanPromise,” he reflected. “That was the big dinner for our family: my parents, brothers, friends, and neighbors all came to UrbanPromise for dinner.”

Such memories help to explain why Tony is so motivated to spend hours in a bus, weaving through the streets of Camden, picking up kids and families for our annual neighborhood Thanksgiving dinners.  

It’s not just about meal. Tony believes these community meals are really important for strengthening family ties, creating memories, and helping parents build traditions with their children.

“To build a sense of family, you need to eat meals together,” Tony adds. “Family dinners help parents connect with their children in a more meaningful way.”

It’s no coincidence that recent research on childhood resiliency persuasively argues that children who know more about their families tend do better when facing challenges and adversity.

Emory University psychologist Marshall Duke affirms this idea: children who know their family history—and share family traditions—tend to have a higher sense of self-esteem and a stronger sense of control over their lives. These are certainly essential qualities for children coping with tough urban communities. 

This Thanksgiving, the UrbanPromise team will serve over 1,000 meals for the families of children in our programs. Once again, we need your help.

Each meal will cost just $5 per person.  Please consider underwriting the cost of a meal.  Maybe you can even sponsor a family meal.


Please know along with a nurturing meal and the chance to collectively thank God for amazing blessings, you’ll be giving a gift to the families of our city, the gift of gathering together to celebrate traditions and create lasting memories.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Dr. Bruce Main

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