Our History

Hopeworks was organized in 1999 by members of three churches in North Camden, with the goal of offering training to high school dropouts.

In 2000, we formed a Board of Directors, hired an Executive Director, wrote grant proposals, and got startup grants from the Campbell Soup Company and the Society of Jesus and in March of 2000, we opened our doors on 543 State Street to the first trainees and started our youth development non-profit.

In 2012, we made another important discovery that training alone was just not enough.

  • Our youth were successful, but many more dropped out, did not complete the training, or were not successful in internships. We also needed to help our youth heal.
  • Hopeworks made the decision to become a certified Sanctuary organization. What does this mean? It means we have radically shifted our values/priorities/interactions to a “trauma” framework. You can find out more about Sanctuary here.

For 18 years, we’ve run our nonprofit out of our row-home on State Street. In 2018, we adequately outgrew our original space, and have moved to Market Street in Camden.

Here at Hopeworks, we believe that without addressing the unresolved traumatic issues in a youth’s life–especially as they manifest in habitual patterns of protection–i.e. disengagement, disconnected emotional state, anger, emotional eruptions, etc.– youth will not be able to take full advantage of opportunities in their lives. We can either work on creating new opportunities and hope that there are youth who can succeed in them or we can work on creating individuals who will be able to take advantage of new opportunities. We choose the latter!