March 13th 2018
Usually I look forward to writing about the exciting things happening on our campus in Camden, and sharing stories about the incredible kids we serve here. But I take no pleasure in what I have to share with you today.
As you know, on Valentine’s Day, a lone gunman breached the security of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and ruthlessly killed 17 children and teachers, injuring 14 more.
Like you, I barely can comprehend that this is not only possible but that more than 31 school shootings have occurred in the United Stated in the last 10 years. So many in fact, that this generation of precious children are increasingly referred to as “Generation Massacre” or “Generation Columbine.” The mind reels at the very notion.
So here at UrbanPromise, it’s time to think about the unthinkable.
We need to retrofit and upgrade our buildings to make sure our children are safe and protected every day. Many local public schools in South Jersey have each spent over half a million dollars building vestibules and installing automatically locking doors and cameras.
We don’t have that kind of budget here, but it does not diminish our responsibility to keep our children safe.
I need your help to add some important security features to our buildings.
Because our children already face enough traumatic issues - feeling unprotected at UrbanPromise should not be one of them.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Dr. Bruce Main
P.S. On March 14th, our students will stand in solidarity with high school students across the country during the walkout and will also join a local march on the 24th as we encourage them to contribute their young voices to a national conversation. Two of our students, whose families have been impacted by gun violence have been invited to speak. We are proud of them and we support them.
Ways you can help make our campus more secure!
- Fire extinguishers (20 needed), $47
- Blinds for classroom and sanctuary windows, library and installation (26 needed), $75
- Upgrade door monitoring system for the high school, $1,000
- Door monitor, $9,000
- Youth Wellness Sponsor (or $75/month) - $900
- Staff and volunteer safety training - $12,000
- A gift of any amount!
School safety takes many forms these days. At UrbanPromise, we are going to leave the politics to the politicians and make use of the best tools we can afford. At this time, we don’t have the funds to build elaborate bulletproof vestibules and retrofit all of our buildings with autolock doors, but we can take advantage of the following tools to protect our children:
- Fire extinguishers: the local police department has taught us that a fire extinguisher can be a powerful and effective deterrent to immobilize a threat or stop an attacker.
- Window blinds: blinds on exterior windows and interior blackout shades make it difficult for an intruder to see how many possible victims are inside a room in the hopes that they will keep moving.
- Door monitor with camera and buzz-in feature: if you have visited our campus, you know that you can’t enter our elementary school without being caught on camera at the front door and buzzed in by our staff. We need to upgrade our high school building with the same system.
- Training: our staff and volunteers need to be trained with the most up-to-date lockdown procedures and techniques for handling an intruder. We already conduct regular fire and lockdown drills, but more instruction is needed as we adjust to the continued escalation in the current climate.
- Finally, we want you to know that our most powerful defense against a threat to our children is our incredible staff. With a ratio of about one staff person for each five children, we have a created an atmosphere at UrbanPromise that is caring and vigillent. Operating in Camden, we are already accustomed to keeping a watchful eye on our young people. Every teacher and every staff person, from our directors to our beloved janitor, Duane, knows that the safety of our children is our first priority. I hope you will join us in protecting our kids.
If you'd prefer to mail your donation please send it to: UrbanPromise P.O. Box 1479 Camden, NJ 08105. For more information about making a donation, please contact Toni Farmer, Director of Development at (856) 630-9998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.