- Featured, Letter from Executive Director, UrbanPromise Academy, Volunteers

Good Ground – a letter from our Executive Director

Easter 2021 

Dear Friend, 

It’s like that Aunt you always hear about in your family,” Gina began… 

Gina is a genius at analogies, so I just sat back and waited for her to paint another masterpiece. The  question that triggered the analogy was how she felt about being in our new UrbanPromise Academy (UPA) building. 

Most of our UPA students are still receiving their education online, both to allow time for staff to get vaccinated, but also to complete finishing touches on the building and move-in day preparations. But a few students, including Gina, needed to be back in physical school sooner or they may not recover from the impact of the pandemic. 

I trust Gina’s insights. I wanted to know what she thought about the new facility. 

“…you hear about this house that your Aunt lives in, how great it is and how big it is. And you hear about her cooking and how special it is. You keep hearing about it, and hearing about it and then, all of a sudden, one day you finally visit your aunt and then you say to yourself, ‘Oh! This is that house they’ve been talking about!’ That’s what it’s been like,” she said with a broad smile. 

“The first thing I felt when I walked in was grateful. I just felt so grateful this had been done for me.” 

I was touched by what Gina shared, in two respects. It was mature and heartfelt about how it impacted her, but it also was deeply true – all the planning, struggle, and effort, all the volunteer  hours, sacrifice, and donations – were being done to impact and serve the students we love and  respect so deeply, just like Gina. The efforts to discern God’s will and to execute it, had borne fruit  in what Gina experienced.

Speaking of fruit, if you want a sense of what Gina is talking about, take a look at the transformation achieved by the hard work and commitment of so many great people in the photos below. This past Saturday students and parents joined over 50 volunteers and staff to create a garden right next door to UPA on Market Street. The new garden has a name, Good Ground, reflecting what God can do  with noble and good hearts when people persevere together. They bear fruit

We’re close to a full opening, and that’s where I’d like to ask your help. We hope, in a month or so, to have the full student body return and receive the blessing of this building, just like Gina. But there are some finishing touches that would really help

In our science lab Nora needs tools like microscopes, beakers, and hot plates. Lawrence needs a quality speaker and microphone for language class. Earl wants to cast vision with professional  tools, career posters and college banners and Vanessa has a cool idea to create a small Spanish Villa in the Spanish class. Across the school, Joel would like for the building to ‘Pop’ when students walk in. It’d be great if you could help give to the Pop! Fund to get some quality, framed  posters and inspiring pictures. Please, take a look at some of the options on the response card.  Enjoy adding your touch where you feel you’d like to help

It’s Easter friends, and I’ve never been more grateful for what Jesus did for me nor more excited that  He is risen. Getting vaccinated, coming out of Covid, our new building, and now a derelict drug house  demolished and, in its place, our new Good Ground Garden ready to grow. That’s resurrection.  Rejoice with Gina and I! Spring is coming! 


Rob Prestowitz

P.S. The students and parents who saw the school for the first time Saturday were just as excited as Gina. Thank you for helping! This project has Pop! Let’s give it more!

Good Ground as of January 2021 and March 2021

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