CAMDEN, NJ – From a previously abandoned lot once occupied by a burned down Tyco Toy Company factory, the impressive, modern, bright Camden Mastery Charter School campus opened its doors this past August.
Inside the building’s auditorium, the corridors to which were adorned with inspirational quotes from accomplished figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Sonia Sotomayor, more than 100 students from the Cramer Hill and Molina Upper Elementary Schools gathered Wednesday for an afternoon of fun.
In partnership with the City of Camden, and Campbell’s Soup Company, the 76ers, through the Harris Family Charitable Foundation, helped launch the Delaware Valley’s latest After-School All-Stars program, which will be based at Camden Master Charter.
The event represented the latest collaborative effort between the Harris Family Charitable Foundation and After-School All-Stars non-profit organization, which together have focused on enhancing after-school programs in based in Philadelphia, Camden, and Newark, New Jersey.
To mark the occasion, the Sixers Camps staff conducted a clinic that focused on basketball, and education.
“Those of us who have been fortunate, it’s our obligation to be in these communities to make sure that those less fortunate than we are have opportunities,” Sixers Managing General Partner Josh Harris said Wednesday from inside Camden Mastery Charter’s gym, which was outfitted with a freshly-installed, light-sand colored basketball hardwood.
Harris’ wife, Marjorie, with whom he has five children, also addressed Wednesday’s assembly. She encouraged students, who screamed with every dab and backflip performed by Franklin and the Sixers Dunk Squad, to believe in themselves, and work hard.
“We’re here because we care about you,” she said. “Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm, as best as you can, and you’ll feel proud.”
In bringing their remarks to a close, the Harrises were ready to make a deal with Wednesday’s attentive audience. Tickets to a future Sixers game could be theirs, under one condition: study, and get good grades in their sparkling new school.
“These kids need opportunities, and we’re going to do as much as we can here,” said Josh Harris. “It’s our pleasure and privilege.”