‘Paddle for Promise’ raises funds for young leaders in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) – “The more you push yourself and know you can get things done, you can do it,” said Misty Osborne, 14. “I never thought I could paddle about seven miles, but I did, and it’s just great to have a sense of achievement.”

Osborne is an Assistant Team Leader with UrbanPromise Wilmington, a group that connects children and young adults with mentoring opportunities and community activities. Today’s event was the third annual Paddle for Promise, which sent dozens of participants down a 7-mile stretch of the Christina River.

“With me becoming a young adult soon, it’s really good for my life, so I’m really, really grateful for that,” Osborne said of the paddling challenge.

Osborne oversees a group of teens known as StreetLeaders who can earn a paycheck by mentoring children in after-school programs and summer camps.

“We want to be able to be a good example for them,” said Jaevon Rayfield, 16, a current StreetLeader who was mentored in his youth. “It makes you want to do less of what you see on the streets and stuff.”

Teens like Rayfield are motivated and inspired by Rob Prestowitz, who founded UrbanPromise Wilmington 24 years ago after being affiliated with a group of the same name in Camden, New Jersey.

“I met young people and literally thought, if it was my brother or my sister, that I would have to do something to help,” Prestowitz said. “You see their potential, their passion, their creativity, and you recognize that there is a gap in the opportunities and tools given to them to reach that full potential as I would wish for my children.”

Prestowitz has worked tirelessly to close this gap over the past two decades. And although he finds awareness has been heightened, he says there is still work to be done.

“There is a team paddling and you have to paddle in sync, but it also helps when all the current is flowing with you,” he said. “So I think if the current of society and the paddling of all of its members worked together, I think we have an opportunity to win the race.”

Since the boating event ended this afternoon, UrbanPromise Wilmington has raised just over $ 100,000 to benefit children and young adults within their organization. To find out more or make a donation, visit their website.

RELATED: Dog Owners Paddled With Furry Friends For A Good Cause

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