Miss Jalisa is going to school, holding down a job, nurturing a blended family of six children from 8 to 17, and living in her mom’s house on Wilmington’s East Side. That’s a tough job description, but everything we’ve seen tells us she’s doing an impressive job keeping it together. But it did help that last summer she discovered UrbanPromise’s Summer Camps, specifically Camp Victory led by Josh Gregor.
Her cousin had recommended us before, but last summer it became urgent. It really helped that our camps are free and within walking distance of her home. It also helps that Josh and his growing family live three blocks from her. When your Camp Director is your neighbor, that’s unique.
“That first summer I remember the kids coming home telling me stories and talkin’ about the games they played,” she told me, “I thought, ‘Huh, these kids really love this camp.’”
“I loved how Mr. Josh and the counselors would call and encourage me about what my kids had done. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes my kids can be a handful, and I really appreciated hearing from them. But not just the bad, they would call about the good, too.”
“After a few weeks they were coming home telling me about what they’d learned about the Bible and repeating Bible verses. I thought ‘Wow, okay, this is a great program for us. I don’t want them being outside on the streets, it’s dangerous. But being able to get out and doin’ constructive things in a safe environment with good leadership. That’s definitely what I needed.”
“One Saturday, UrbanPromise had their 3-on-3 basketball tournament. I was sad because I had to work and couldn’t be there to see my 12-year old son, Zahir, play. But my friend Face Timed it for me (video call). I could see his face was full of joy. It brought me so much joy to see his face full of joy. I felt so supported. It made me cry to see him so happy.”
“Truth be told, Zahir is challenging, even for me, but I saw him grow so much. As a young man it’s so easy to follow negative influences on the street, but he learned to be his own person, to be a leader. UrbanPromise Camp Victory really started that. I think that’s one of the biggest things UrbanPromise did for my kids. They learned to love themselves and make better choices. You all helped my children be themselves. I am so grateful.”
“Now I’m hoping my daughter Shamira will be a StreetLeader (our jobs for teens). She came home so excited from the StreetLeader application night saying over and over, ‘I hope I get it, I hope I get it!’.”
“I want my kids at UrbanPromise.”
So do we. That’s why I’m writing to you. The camps are free to parents because supporters like you help parents like Miss Jalisa with your gifts. For $35 you can sponsor her son Zahir to be in camp. For $1000 you can give Shamira her first job! $250 will pay for the sports equipment we need for Zahir’s basketball tournament. $500 will give Camp Victory a summer trip to Six Flags! And $60 will buy pizza for the StreetLeader summer Bible study (and give Shamira verses to take home!).
When I write these letters I am always encouraged and inspired by what our parents and kids share with us. I just take the words that come from their hearts and share them with you to put them in your hearts. And from the overflow of your heart I hope you will help Miss Jalisa and her children with another great Summer Camp experience. Thank you!