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Sports Are Essential For Healthy Community Development in Camden, NJ

Sports Are Essential For Healthy Community Development in Camden, NJ

Camden is a city of optimism about its future and potential growth Рsituated along the Delaware River across from Philadelphia, Camden has experienced both moments of vibrant growth and rapid decline throughout its history since it was settled in 1626. In Camden, the anchor of hope continues and will always continue to be sports and wellness, because many LMI families in the community rely on sports programs to provide higher education and exposure to productive habits for their children. While there’s a deep history of sports in the city, we have seen that there is certainly room for improving the number of programs, quality, and affordable access for a diverse range of children from all athletic experiences, regardless of race, gender, income or abilities. Although we have been actively serving over 200 children in Burlington County, New Jersey, our mission for 2021-2022 is to expand our Sports Administration Initiative to Camden County, New Jersey, and specifically Camden City, New Jersey, to provide opportunities to build healthier kids and promote community wellness through our several DanceSport initiatives.

Camden is a city dependent on community organizations, most nonprofits like Universal Initiatives, totally depend on one or two people to coordinate events and raise money to fund initiatives that help save and change lives by the dozen. The challenging on-the-ground grass roots efforts that it takes to survive a program in Camden without the support of private donations and City funding is challenging – leading to disruptions in existing programs and causing uncertainty for ones in development. Providing easily accessible organized DanceSport programs in Camden City will provide opportunities for young LMI children from all walks of life and diverse households to convene in a safe and healthy community space where they have the ability to release tensions held throughout the day through nonverbal self expression and build an understanding on the value of teamwork.

So what is next? Creating community partnerships to make sports more accessible to city youth by removing the transportation barrier is important. Communicating with educational institutions and private schools in Camden is an important way to access young people and promote healthy organized sport without having to convince their parents, who may work several jobs to get by. We believe that the passion for sports culture and need for Camden to provide more equitable access to and higher quality sports, physical activity and recreational opportunities for LMI children who struggle to find an outlet – will provide our next generation in Camden with a healthy alternative to stress, educating them on the importance of body-positivity and wellness, that can lead to lifelong productivity and success.

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