The Mayor's Office , the Philadelpiha 76ers, officers from Camden County Police Department, and community leaders joined today in the city's sixth annual Camden Clean Campaign. Today served as the tenth even out of eleven that are taking place throughout the summer in a citywide venture. The goal of the campaign is to beautify the city, as well as removal of debris, grass-cutting, and other environmental initiatives. In addition, the Clean Campaign addresses current housing issues through property stabilization, the restoration of vacant lots, and a program that provides residents with vouchers that can be used to purchase paint products to remodel their homes.
Today, the Cooper Plaza and Lanning Square neighborhoods received a visit from the Philadelphia 76ers organization. Approximately 100 volunteers representing not only the Sixers, but the Office of the Mayor, Camden County Police Department, Center for Family Services, Cooper Foundation, YMCA, Volunteers of America, Puerto Rican Unity for Progress (PRUP), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) joined together in an effort to "green" the 4th and Clinton Street Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. This event stood out from the rest due to the sheer number of Promise Zone partners that volunteered in a united cause that also bought together residents from an assortment of neighborhoods that may not necessarily get the chance to interact with each other. The helping hand form the 76ers also had a resounding effect on local residents who are not often able to meet with such reputable figures.
The impact of the Clean Up and the added presence of the basketball team was a huge topic of conversation amongst leaders, partners, and residents alike. In a statement addressing the clean campaign and its role in shaping Camden's renaissance, Mayor Redd said that the event "raises the energy adn the momentum of the community, youth and families as the event helps turn a corner," thus contributing tot the holistic approach that includes promotion of public safety, improvement of educational outcomes, job creation, and perhaps most importantly, civic engagement. In regards to the significance of resident participation, Mayor Redd states that "residents must take an active role in moving the city of Camden forward" through volunteer services such as what took place today.
Community representative, Sheila Davis, spoke on the influence that the 76ers have on the community, saying, "The Sixers have a huge impact on what we are doing in the city of Camden, also aligning with the Mayor's administration to restore hope." she then elaborates by saying, "the 76ers' partnership with Camden is widely appreciated and only the beginning of something great as they help our city to move forward through community redevelopment and restoration."
In another showing of support from Camden, Councilwoman Dana Burley said "volunteerism from the Sixers is a huge plus for all of us as it is a way to give back to a deserving community, also enhancing community involvement and civic responsibility in an all-around team effort."
World B. Free and Mike Goings form the 76ers were also on hand and optimistic about the partnership with Camden. With the state-of-the-art practice facility being built just blocks away, the 76ers seem to recognize the organization's role in contributing to Camden's resurgence. It's a holistic approach to revitalization the city is taking as it begins to recreate itself under the Promise Zone initiative.