According to Camden Elementary Principal Samuel Garrison, “The students received the red carpet treatment upon arriving at the Prudential Center.” One of the students remarked that they “felt like stars”. It was an adventure that they had never experienced before. In fact, most of the children had never been inside the Prudential Center before today.
According to NJ Devils President Hugh Weber, “Our goal is to create transformative change in people’s lives through sports and entertainment. We are here to create bonds with the community and with the students. In giving to the kids, we wind up receiving and learning so much from them in return. We’re here to take the mystery out of this building. We are part of the neighborhood and part of the community, and we have the power to make the community better.”
Quite a number of the students at Camden Street Elementary are special needs students. The Devils will be planning activities throughout the year to encourage and engage the students’ social/emotional learning. Members from the Devils organization currently participate in the school’s Adopt-A-Classroom program by reading to students and assisting with the school’s literacy initiatives.
Principal Garrison shared the impact that the interaction with the Devils has on the students, “The hands-on interaction with the players goes a long way in terms of validation. The kids enjoy feeling special. It lets them know that ‘I am somebody.’ It truly helps build their confidence and self-acceptance.” Today’s event was designed specifically for Camden Elementary’s 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students. Future events are planned for the school’s middle and upper grades.