South Camden, New Jersey
January 3rd-11th 2015
"Camden, NJ once stood next to Philadelphia as a thriving center of industry and commerce, with companies such as RCA Victor, Campbell's Soup, and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation providing tens of thousands of local jobs. In the 60s and 70s, changing economic situations and a decline of industry plunged Camden into urban decay. Today, the city continues to suffer from industrial, residential, and even political abandonment, and is still labeled as one of America's poorest cities. Many residents still live in deep-rooted poverty, with few options and little hope for recovery. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, tent cities, abandoned buildings, and decaying city utilities are shadowed by a small handful of "restoration projects", such as Cooper Hospital, the Riversharks minor-league baseball stadium, and the Camden Aquarium.
Because of its unique situation and multiple levels of poverty, Camden has become a hotbed of volunteer activity. A steady stream of high-school, collegiate, and full-time volunteers come to Camden and work to meet the needs of residents which are consistently neglected. In a city often perceived as "hopeless", the work of volunteers sets an example of true ministry, care, and respect for those stricken with poverty. In Camden, volunteers are called to love and serve even those whom no-one else wants to serve.
I spent two years volunteering and working on Camden, NJ. As a music teacher and director of music and youth ministry at a parish, I worked especially with the children and teens of Camden. Some of my students had never been to Philadelphia, just a 20-minute walk or 3-minute drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge. Other older teens were not even aware of career opportunities that matched their interests. The youth represent all citizens of Camden: they are filled with hope, promise, and potential. They need people, such as volunteers, to believe in them, help them discover their dreams, and give them the tools to achieve those dreams."
-Chris Calderone, Staff Person for the 2013 Camden Trip
What to Expect:
- Cost: Each ABE trip costs $375.
- Travel: The group travels from campus to Camden by van. The drive will take two days.
- Lodging: Past groups have stayed with First Baptist Church in Cherry Hill, a suburb of Camden.
- Food: Some meals will be provided by the work sites. Any meals not provided by the work sites will be supplemented with funds given to the Co-Leaders following the SNAP Challenge.
- Work: The focus will be on the community in Camden. The group will have the opportunity to work with a variety of sites. To see possible work sites: Here
- Extra Fun: Get to know the wonderful community of South Camden and learn the history of the area.
- Focus: community, children, social justice, and human rights.
Please note: $100 due with acceptance of a position!
Any questions about this trip can be directed to Alternative Break Experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Points of Interest:
- Community Value
- Social Justice
- Human Rights
"Camden, NJ is known to be the poorest city, but from what I saw it is a city rich with hope!" - 2014 Participant
"Though I do not understand what these people are going through, but I must try [to understand] and I must help." - 2014 Participant