Stories from the North Camden Community
For the past 21 years, Amado and Carmen Maldonado have lived in a 3-bedroom apartment in Cooper Waterfront Homes, an affordable housing development in North Camden, built and managed by Camden Lutheran Housing, Inc. (CLHI). They raised their two girls, Emily and Amanda, now 24 years old, in this community. The girls are twins who graduated from Camden Promise Academy Charter School. Amado retired in 2014 from the Maple Shade School District and is now a Crew Leader with the Block Supporter Initiative, one of CLHI’s community programs. “I get to make a positive impact in my neighborhood,” he explains. When asked about raising their family at Cooper Waterfront Homes, Carmen shares, “It’s always been clean and safe here. It’s hard to remember a time we lived anywhere else. We love our home.”
David Marin is a North Camden resident employed by the Block Supporter Initiative (BSI), a program sponsored by CLHI. David started with the Block Supporter Initiative in the spring of 2017 and is now a Crew Leader. “The BSI means a lot to me because I’m giving back to the community that I once myself was damaging,” David explains. “Seeing the visible difference I’m making is really incredible. In the process of working here, I’ve made so many new friends, and some feel like family. Now, when I walk anywhere in my community, I get so much love from people. They look at me differently and see I’m a part of the solution.”
Shannon Murphy is a Camden resident employed by Decorative Board Up, a summer program sponsored by CLHI. Shannon is a Camden PowerCorps graduate who is passionate about making a difference in his city. Through his work with the Decorative Board Up crew, Shannon helps board, paint, and clean the exterior of derelict abandoned properties in North Camden. “It’s amazing what a little paint can do!” he explains. “I love getting involved in this kind of work where I can help make positive changes in Camden,” he adds.
Jasmen Roman is a volunteer with the Block Supporter Initiative. She comes in three days a week and contributes more than 10 hours of volunteer time to the program every week! “I love being able to help out and make a difference in people’s lives. Seeing the joy on their faces and seeing the great results – it’s awesome,” Jasmen says. “The blocks look so beautiful… The BSI is really bringing neighbors together.”