“Urban Hope is raising up generations of young heroes—who are beating the odds by the grace of God—through creating safe places in our neighborhood to grow together into wholeness.” That is the mission statement of the international Christian organization ––The Navigators® subsidiary, Urban Hope—in Durham, North Carolina.
Urban Hope is a year-round inner city initiative, which its core is to bridge the gap between spiritual/economical resources, to youth and families. The focal point of this initiative is centered in Durham’s Walltown neighborhood. Urban Hope uses seven ways to effectively transmit their goal, of economical development and financial literacy.
They foster programs throughout the year such as: Dollars and sense, entrepreneurship challenges, bible jump off, young leaders group, neighborhood sports teams, the way afterschool program and the urban hope summer camp!
Urban Hope Summer camp enrolls about 40 members each year. It’s a seven-week program. Their day starts at 8:30a.m. – 4p.m., everyday. The summer camp houses three separate teams and age groups: Bull city leaders are rising 5th and 6th graders, Tweens are rising 7th graders, entrepreneurs are rising 8th, 9th and 10th graders and 11th and 12th graders are counselors in training.
Digital literacy is a branch of the camp that is helped funded by Cisco, Duke, Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, and The Office of Durham and Regional Affairs. It’s used two times a week and is referred to as, “tech-time”. Since, the camp is majority Christian and business based this part of the day is specifically geared toward use of these attained business skills, through technology and computers.
Each year they have what is called an “e-commerce challenge”. This part of the program is very hands on. The “Bull City Leaders” focus their skills on generating proficiency in typing. The “Tweens” actually maintain the camp’s store with spreadsheet, by calculating revenue and profits. They also maintain a website. While the “entrepreneurs” hold a very prestigious task. This year they separately teamed up, to hand-make bracelets. They promoted it by word of mouth throughout the neighborhood. They’ve also been able to advertise them through a website—www.foralma.com with there link labeled “urban hope”. They have also used various social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“I’ve never lost a challenge,” said Jimaune Williams, a rising 9thgrader at Hillside High School. “It’s a fun camp to hang out at with friends, it’s more than just being so serious,” said Williams. Their next challenge was a yard sale where they gathered up rarely used items and accumulated donations. After the yard sale the winner got to keep a portion of their profits.
The summer camp that Urban Hope produces is the largest ministry out of everyone that they foster. The camp had always been held at St. John’s church, but this year moved to St. James’ church of Club blvd. Urban Hope director, Bahari Harris says they operate by the 3 P’s: Personal presence, proactive prevention and productive citizens, to operate this camp. “I want to prepare our kids as citizens of the 21st century, they need to know how to exist and use technology,” says Harris. “If we look at our kids as hero’s in turn that is how they will always look at themselves.”