Since 1988, UrbanPromise has been hosting summer camps throughout the city of Camden, New Jersey. Thousands of children have participated in these dynamic summer camps located throughout the city of Camden. Over the years the model of UrbanPromise has been taken to other cities such as Wilmington, Toronto, Vancouver, Miami, Copan Ruinas, Honduras and throughout the country of Malawi.
In July 2011 Trenton was added to the list as we launched the newest UrbanPromise site! We were thrilled to be able to provide a dynamic FREE summer camp experience to the children of Trenton. Our first After-School Program began October 3, 2011.
The need: Here in Trenton, gangs have been actively recruiting kids as young as 8 years old. In recent years a 7 year old girl was raped by seven men who were gang members. According to reports released by the New Jersey State Police and the National Crime Data Bank, the number of murders, as well as the amount of gang related crime, is higher than ever. Incidents of gang crime, including gang graffiti, murder, robbery and drug dealing are on the rise and have spread to Trenton. In the face of all this, Trenton recently had to lay off about 475 city employees, including 142 uniformed cops and 78 firefighters. There is a critical and ever-increasing need to give the children of Trenton an alternative and a safe haven.
Why Trenton, Why UrbanPromise:
• Trenton’s population is 84,913 and 39.8% are under the age of 18 years old. There are currently no summer camp programs and limited after school resources. That means 33,795 kids are without any alternatives to gangs and crime. In the face of recent and continuing budget cuts, this situation will only worsen.
• There are 38 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 7 high schools in Trenton. The average SAT scores are; Math 378, Verbal 380, and Essay 378. That’s an average score 1138 out of a possible 2400. Furthermore, it’s below New Jersey’s average of 1505. Neither government nor the overstressed public school system have been able to adequately address chronic underperformance, which begins at the elementary level.
• UrbanPromise has a proven model to address these needs by providing an alternative to gangs, drugs, substandard education and crime. UrbanPromise Trenton will bring that model to the City of Trenton, providing a safe haven that allows children at a very young age to choose a different path; to learn about God, to exercise leadership, to receive after school tutoring and to follow examples of success they can relate to. It will open up a world to them that many would otherwise never believe they can be part of.
We believe UrbanPromise excels at raising Christian leaders that are passionate about doing God’s work and fulfilling God’s commission. It starts with a Vision. Executive Director, Carl Clark knows this first-hand. As a young man he grew up in one of Camden's roughest neighborhoods. He was raised by a single mother who was a drug abuser and later became very ill with cancer. Bruce Main, Founder of UrbanPromise, and other interns were there for him during his time of need. Growing up in the UrbanPromise Program taught Carl that everyone has choices and the ability to make decisions. A lot of kids growing up in a poverty stricken environment don’t understand there are choices or realize they have one. Carl made the choice to leave his lucrative career as a banker because he sees the need in Trenton just as Bruce Main saw the need in Camden. Our vision is to take the UrbanPromise Model to Trenton and shape the lives of the youth from the bottom up
• July 2011 First Camp Site in West Trenton • October 2011 First AfterSchool Program in West Trenton • January 2012 Second AfterSchool Program in Central/Downtown Trenton