Camden Community Partnership Awarded Six-Figure Grant from the Sixers Youth Foundation to Support Youth Initiatives in Camden

By , March 19, 2024

Funds Will Utilized for Enhancement and Expansion of Camden County Police Department’s Open Gym and Resource Nights

 

Camden, NJCamden Community Partnership has received a six-figure grant from the Sixers Youth Foundation to fund youth fitness initiatives throughout the City of Camden. The donation will be utilized for enhancements and the expansion of Open Gym and Resource Nights, that have been jointly organized by the Camden County Police Department and the Department’s Village Initiative since the program’s inception in 2021.


“Investment in our city’s youth is supporting a better and brighter future for the City of Camden – for tomorrow and for generations to come,” said Dana L. Redd, President & CEO, Camden Community Partnership. “As future leaders of their community, Camden’s youth play an integral role in fostering the economic prosperity and continued evolution of the city. Camden Community Partnership continues to support any programming or initiatives committed to the positive growth and healthy development of our city’s youth. As such, we extend a huge thank you to the Sixers Youth Foundation, Camden County Police Department, the City of Camden and Camden County for sharing in our mission and continuing to invest in Camden’s future.”


“At the Sixers Youth Foundation, we understand the importance of using our platform to empower youth and strengthen the communities we serve,” said Lara Price, Philadelphia 76ers Chief Operating Officer and Sixers Youth Foundation Board Member. “The work we do with the City of Camden and Camden Community Partnership is vital to our community as we look to create and expand on new opportunities and resources through the Camden County Police Department’s Village Initiative for our local youth and their families to use. We are thrilled to help support this program and help make it a place that creates positive relationships throughout Camden.”


“This is another prime example of responsible public-private partners, coming together to serve our community and support our youth,” said Camden Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen. “This critical funding allows our kids to simply be kids by participating in engaging activities. I am grateful to the Sixers Youth Foundation, Camden County Police Department, and Camden Community Partnership for supporting the expansion of this program. The Open Gym and Resource Nights, along with the CCPD Village Initiative, have become extremely popular among our young people. The program offers young people a safe haven and a valuable opportunity to socialize with their peers.”


“This generous donation from the Sixers Youth Foundation exemplifies the true spirit of the phrase that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “This is so much more than funding a singular program – this is a real investment in Camden’s future, which significantly impacts the lives of Camden’s youth and families for the years to come. The continued partnership between private, public and nonprofit entities here in Camden is unmatched and shows the world how we can all make a difference when we work together for a common goal.”


Camden Community Partnership will be working jointly with Camden County, the Camden County Police Department and the Department’s Village Initiative to see that Open Gym and Resource Nights can continue to expand its reach and community impact with this funding.


The Camden County Police Department’s community outreach team facilitates a variety of programming throughout the City of Camden for youth, including the Village Initiative and the popular Hoop it Up program every Thursday and Friday nights throughout the year. Other weekly programs offered by the Department include Bookmates, dodgeball, flag football, movie nights and Meet the Officer events in the city’s park system. The Department has also set up mentor programs in the school district, adopted families throughout the city and established a variety of other initiatives to encourage outreach and integration with residents in various neighborhoods within the City of Camden.


“From the start, this agency has been focused on community engagement and facilitating a lifelong dialogue in order to become part of the fabric of the city,” Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said. “This investment by the Sixers underscores the importance of the work we do with our residents on a daily basis, with a focus on our youth in Camden. I want to thank them for ‘walking the walk’ and being such an important part of our ‘village’ here in Camden County.”


The Camden County Police Department’s Village Initiative was formed in 2021 when Camden County Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez gathered more than 60 local community advocates, youth-serving programs, community leaders and residents together to better understand and support youth in the City of Camden. From that first gathering, there was a clear need for more activities throughout the city that could build positive relationships between youth and their peers, leaders and the police department, particularly during the evening hours on the weekends. In response, Open Gym and Resource Nights were organized and launched as a way for city youth to engage in pro-social activities, organized recreational programming and mentorship as a way to build community relationships and enhance public safety outcomes in the City of Camden.


“This donation is a game changer for the department and will allow us to continue showing up for our community,” said Chief Gabriel Rodriguez of the Camden County Police Department. “With this money, we can continue to host these events that give children and teenagers safe places to spend time and families to connect with needed services. These funds will also help support the Department’s various other youth-centered initiatives around the city that includes carnivals and block parties during summer months, reading programs and so much more.”


Since its launch, Open Gym and Resource Nights have been held every Friday night at two location sites in the City of Camden. Within the first month of launching the program, the Camden County Youth Services Commission saw a 50 percent reduction in admissions to detention from youth in the City of Camden – and that admission rate has remained consistent and steady over the past two years. Despite limited resources and funding, the all-volunteer organizers, leaders and mentors for Open Gym and Resource Nights have created an atmosphere of safety, trust and consistency when it comes to this innovative programencouraging youth to gather and build strong relationships and social capital with their fellow residents, community leaders, advocates and law enforcement in Camden. Through the cultivation of healthy, positive relationships, the hope is that these youth will learn to trust and rely on their Open Gym and Resource Night mentors and develop important life skills to keep them on a positive track.


The generous funding provided by the Sixers Youth Foundation will be utilized for a dual purpose:


Expand the number of Open Gym and Resource Night locations throughout the City of Camden


Enhance outreach efforts for Open Gym and Resource Nights in order to reach an even larger, broader number of youth throughout the City of Camden and encourage increased participation in the program.


Camden County Police Department will rely on its partnerships with Camden Community Partnership, the City of Camden, the Camden City School District and The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Camden to identify prime locations to host Open Gym and Resource Nights to maximize youth engagement and retention.


For more information about Camden Community Partnership, visit https://camdencommunitypartnership.com/. For more information about the Camden County Police Department, the Village Initiative or Open Gym and Resource Nights, visit https://camdencountypd.org/.



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About Camden Community Partnership:

Camden Community Partnership (CCP) was founded in 1984 as a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to planning and implementing high-quality urban redevelopment projects to revitalize the City of Camden. CCP’s initial focus was concentrated on the redevelopment of Camden’s downtown waterfront area – serving as the planner, promoter, and master developer of more than $600 million of private and public investment at the Waterfront. Since then, CCP has expanded their mission to act as the umbrella organization to bring stakeholders together and implement a holistic approach to revitalizing Camden. With a residents-first approach at the core of what we do, CCP focuses on housing, public safety, infrastructure, education, neighborhood initiatives, park and green space development, and facilitates the creation of employment opportunities. Strategic investments in these areas act as a catalyst for future growth and bring a renewed sense of pride in Camden as a vibrant place to live, work and play. Learn more: CamdenCommunityPartnership.com.


About the Sixers Youth Foundation: 

Established in 2015, the Sixers Youth Foundation is the non-profit extension of the Philadelphia 76ers and a regional philanthropy organization focused on youth development across the Delaware Valley. The Foundation believes in utilizing the power of sport and the influence of the 76ers brand to inspire future generations in the communities where our fans live, work, and play.

 

About the Camden County Police Department and the Village Initiative

The Camden County Police Department’s community outreach team facilitates programming throughout the city for youth including the popular Hoop it Up program every Thursday and Friday nights throughout the year. In addition, other weekly programs include Bookmates, dodgeball, flag football, movie nights, block party barbecues and Meet the Officer events in the city and county park systems. Also, the Department has set up mentor programs in the school district and has adopted families throughout the city amongst variety of other initiatives.