A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Always on My Heart: An Urban Promise Success Story

I had the privlidge of working with Urban Promise for three summers (and 4 years) and have been supporting and sponsoring them ever since my journey began with them in 2007. They are one of the reasons that I have become the person today. Their ministry and children of the city of the Camden broke down every barrier and wall that I was raised with and that was built around me. I love and cherish this ministry for reasons of the story below.
Greg and I were the parents of the team!  Us on the Rocky Steps of Philly.

I had the privilidge of working with Greg my first summer in Camden and then seeing him again the following summer and then was so blessed to spend time with him during his journey at APU (my alma mater). We were  fortunate enough to lead a team together of college students back to Camden on mission. I have watched him grow, stretch, and develop into the man he is today. We have certainly had our adventures and good times and God-moments. Greg's story is just another one of the reasons I love Urban Promise and the work that they are doing. I hope you're heart is touched by his story, as it has touched mine...
It was graduation night in May 2011 at Azusa Pacific University, Southern California! The excitement was electric.

My wife, Pam, and I stood at the side of the stage, straining to see over the crowds of families and friends who waited for the name of their son or daughter to be announced. As each graduate's name was called, shouts of joy reverberated throughout the stadium. If you've had a graduate, you know it was a very happy moment for everyone.

It was a particularly special event for me. As an alumnus of APU, I was there to witness Greg Collins, the first UrbanPromise youth to graduate from my alma mater. Starting in the 3rd grade as a camper, Greg had attended all of the UrbanPromise programs. He became an Afterschool Program participant and then a StreetLeader--where his obvious leadership skills were recognized and honed.
Because of a generous “Presidential Scholarship” from Azusa Pacific's President, Jon Wallace, Greg was awarded the opportunity to attain a Bachelor of Arts in Education. He studied hard, enjoyed the southern California lifestyle and became a leader on campus. Greg, with his proudly awarded degree, truly embodies the potential of our youth.

DONATE NOW: http://upusa.servicenetwork.com/Display.asp?Page=24years&adcode=A911
But Greg never forgot his hometown and the young people of Camden. Greg resisted what social scientists call "the brain drain."

In a landmark book called Hollowing Out the Middle, two Philadelphia-based scholars looked at the devastating impact on cities and rural towns when the brightest and best young people leave for college - and never return. They called this trend “civic suicide.” All too often intelligent young people like Greg obtain university degrees and don’t come back to inner city communities because the job market is so bleak. Consequently, our cities lose the smartest and most dynamic young leaders.

However, at UrbanPromise we’re continuing our trend to foster an environment where the best and brightest want to be part of our mission. Three weeks ago Greg was hired as our new 3rd grade teacher at UrbanPromise.

“These kids need role models,” Greg said this summer. “Role models who have grown up in Camden and yet have been able to do something positive with their lives--and for their country.”

“He is remarkably talented with children,” affirms Principal Denise Baker. “Even as a college student I wanted to hire him. Our young people need positive male leadership.”

After 24 years of ministry in Camden, Pam and I are seeing some remarkable fruit—young people like Greg, coming back to Camden as teachers, social workers and counselors. It’s very gratifying.

Now, of course, you can help us celebrate our 24 Years of Promise!

With a gift of $24—that's a dollar for each year—you can help UrbanPromise celebrate this milestone.
Or, how about $240? That's just $10 a year—I can enroll the next Greg Collins in an AfterSchool Program this fall.

DONATE NOW: http://upusa.servicenetwork.com/Display.asp?Page=24years&adcode=A911

Your gift will affirm our vision of keeping this ministry vibrant, forward-looking and creative.
God bless you,
Dr. Bruce Main

Bruce and the Malawian Interns and past UrbanPromise interns/missionaries at a benefit this year in Claremont.

P.S. Consider sending Greg a note of encouragment as he begins his first year of teaching. Greg's email is gcollins@urbanpromiseusa.org.

Linking up with Shanda and On Your Heart Tuesdays.


Kelli said...

How wonderful!:) Thanks for sharing this awesome story!

Shanda said...

What a great ministry and a privilege to be allowed to share in.