- After School Program, Featured, Letter from Executive Director

Support our Spring Break Trips: A letter from our Director

Dear Friend,

This month over 70 youth experienced a wider world and made great memories. They earned a place on UrbanPromise’s annual Spring Break trips, possibly the highest impact event we do with our children. I thought you would enjoy hearing some of the voices of our staff who lead the trips on why it matters to them and the youth they love so much.

Maine (Than Peterson, passionate Maine native and Camp Harmony Site Director)
For four years, kids at Camp Harmony have been asking, What’s Maine like?
For four years, friends and family in Maine have been asking, What’s Delaware like?

This trip joins the two worlds. Donors and friends have been asking about kids like Troy since I wrote my first letter about him during our trip to Iowa. After our trip, Troy and I started reading Mark together. We’ve both grown a lot through knowing each other. Now it’s time to share the best newsletter, and bring Troy to share his generosity, kindness, and joy with all my friends and family in Maine. Now it’s time to promote the best volunteer experience, and have my own family host the kids, share meals and fun with them. It’s the world we all want and get a taste of on these trips, where everyone involved can walk away with a more abundant life, a bigger vision, and a name of a child or adult that they can call friend.

Virginia (Octavia Mason, creative Mississippi native and Camp Promise Site Director)
Spring Break trips allow our campers to understand the importance of overcoming challenging obstacles. To attend the Spring Break trip to Richmond, Virginia, the campers had to stretch themselves academically by participating in the African American and Latino Speech Contest. They had to learn to make an outline, how to develop the outline into paragraphs, and then present their speech to their friends and families. The campers learned how to overcome intimidation and the feeling of inadequacy when they felt as if they could not be better than the camper who presented before them. Spring Break trips tangibly encourage our campers that there are rewards for overcoming obstacles and fears to achieve a goal.

Upstate New York (Naomi Rider, passionate Adirondacker and Camp Amen Site Director)
From the moment she heard UrbanPromise was holding a speech contest, Jamera was determined to participate. Immediately, this petite and timid girl began researching and writing about the poet Nikki Giovanni. On the day of the contest Jamera was so terrified, she came into camp physically shaking. Jamera tried practicing her speech 3 times in front of the 15 people in camp, but each time she broke down crying, unable to finish her speech because of her paralyzing fear.

The night of the speech contest, Jamera walked on stage in front of 100 people and froze. Seconds ticked by. 10, 20, 30… finally she began, and she delivered her entire speech. I don’t know where the determination came from, but it was the same determination she draws from to look after her younger sisters when they were all taken from her mother’s home, the same determination she’s used to educate herself in a dangerous school, the same determination Jamera’s used to protect her family from threats of violence in her neighborhood.
Now she faces another exciting challenge: traveling further than she has ever gone and being away from her sisters for longer than she ever has. Like the speech, Jamera is determined, yet terrified. And like the speech, she will go on this spring break trip and prove to herself that she does not have to live in fear.

As Than said, “Everyone involved can walk away with a more abundant life and a bigger vision.” You are “Everyone”, too. Your gift makes you part of that bigger vision. Take a look at the response card. I don’t know what Moxie is, but for $85 you’ll allow the kids who go to Maine to find out (and come back and tell us how it tasted!). $650 will get them there and back in a 15 passenger van and $150 will get them onto Peaks Island (and hopefully back).

When I meet adults who were in our programs 20 years ago they can still tell me every trip they had and who went with them. And you still feel their joy. I invite you to give the gift of joy. Thank you!

~Rob Prestowitz

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