Throughout the year, Urban Hope staff live among youth and families in Walltown trying to perceive the new things God is doing in our neighborhood so that we might live into a new way of life together. We imagine our various ministry contexts to be laboratories for leadership and spiritual growth where we explore and experiment with what it means to be young heroes.

Why Young Hero Labs? 

For some, a laboratory conjures images of people in white coats with goggles working on biology, chemistry, or physics. For others, a "lab" is where you go to lay down rhymes over a dope beat in order to create beautiful music. At Urban Hope, we know that spiritual transformation is sometimes like a science and sometimes like an art, and our hope is to evoke and implement the best of both worlds as we become our best selves!

Urban Hope Summer Camp

Launched in 2004, the Urban Hope Summer Camp is a safe place where kids establish new and deeper relationships with peers and adults, gain valuable knowledge and skills relevant to their lives, and learn how to make a meaningful contribution to their community. Each summer the camp hosts 30-40 youth, who are rising 5th thru 10th graders, engaging them in a variety of fun developmental activities focused on eight core areas:

  • Civic & Community Engagement
  • Health & Recreation
  • Science & Technology
  • Cultural Arts
  • Spiritual Formation
  • Academic Enrichment
  • Leadership Development
  • Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy

Watch and see what the Urban Hope Summer Camp is all about!!!

Bible Jump-Off

Bible Jump-Off is a bi-weekly gathering of youth grades 7-12 that meets during the school year to build character, raise consciousness, and cultivate community. We eat a meal together, play games, and use the bible as a launching pad to discuss issues relevant to young people's lives. Our hope is that youth and adults alike learn how to read the scriptures as God's story, come to see our life stories as a part of God’s story, and thus, gain godly wisdom for living out our lives.

Walltown Aspiring Youth Afterschool Program

In partnership with School For Conversion, the Walltown Aspiring Youth afterschool program, or the WAY, seeks to build bridges of support between school, home, and community for neighborhood youth (grades 5-9) during the transition between elementary, middle, and high school. We use a single-gender cohort model to group students in similar grade levels (3-5 boys or girls per cohort with members ideally no more than one grade level apart). Each cohort is matched with a coach who provides academic, behavioral, and personal support and development. WAY coaches live in the neighborhood and split their time between academic enrichment activities with the youth (3-hour sessions, twice a week) and maintaining connections with parents, teachers, and other mentors.

Young Leaders Group

The Young Leaders Group (YLG) is a multi-year leadership laboratory for Walltown youth in grades 10-12, focused on the themes of (1) Story, (2) Work, (3) Future, (4) Community, and (5) Justice. Our vision is to see young leaders emerge in our neighborhood who can:

  • Speak with confidence about their identities and spiritual journeys
  • Seek, find and create meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Think strategically about their future using the skills of goal setting, reflection, and adaptation
  • Develop a mutual sense of belonging, commitment and support with adults and peers in their community
  • Think critically about and engage in issues of poverty and justice, both locally and globally

Neighborhood Sports Teams

Urban Hope sponsors several basketball teams, and even a flag football team, through the Durham Parks and Recreation Junior NBA Program. The teams provide effective ways to build identity and self-esteem amongst the participants and foster neighborhood unity and solidarity as parents and families rally to support the youth.

Watch our highlight video from the 2009 Walltown Panthers team!

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