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Two People, One God and Hope for a Lost City

Statistics show that Camden, N.J is more violent than the infamous Chicago. Still, some longtime residents say their struggling city holds wealth beyond measure. Read Transcript


I NEVER FOUND CAMDEN TO

BE A BAD PLACE.

Reporter: TINA SCOTT

DESIGNS CLOTHES.

SHE BEGAN WITH BRIDAL GOWNS

AND THEN PIONEERED

CUSTOM-DESIGNED ROBES FOR

WOMEN PREACHERS.

HER GARMENTS NOW SHIP TO

GERMANY, JAPAN, THE

CARRIBEAN, AND ACROSS THE

UNITED STATES.

MIND YOU, I FLUNGED

SEWING IN HIGH SCHOOL.

I HAD TO MAKE A PURPLE

PLEADED SCHOOL, AND I

COULDN'T DO IT, AND I GOT A

FAILING GRADE.

Reporter: THE

SEAMSTRESS AND SINGLE MOM

SPENT HER LIFE CHEATING THE

ODDS.

A PERFECT EXAMPLE IS WHEN

SHE CHOSE THIS NEIGHBORHOOD

TO START HER BUSINESS.

I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN

DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.

Reporter: THE OLD

PICTURES LOOK LIKE THEY CAME

FROM A WAR ZONE.

HER SHOP, A SHELL OF A

BUILDING, WITH NO ROOF AND

NO OTHER BUSINESSES NEARBY.

I WAS LOOKING THROUGH THE

EYES OF FAITH.

IT MADE ME FEEL LIKE IT FELT

LIKE WHAT GOD WAS LEADING ME

TO.

Reporter: TODAY,

CAMDEN'S REVITALIZED

HISTORIC CITY CAPTURES

TINA'S VISION AND MORE.

BUT IT IS STILL A WORK IN

PROGRESS THAT DOESN'T

STRETCH FAR ENOUGH.

ONCE YOU LEAVE FROM THIS

AREA, WHICH IS A LOT OF NEW

BUILDINGS AND A LOT OF NEW

CONSTRUCTION, AND GO TWO OR

THREE STREETS OVER, IT LOOKS

LIKE YOU'RE IN A TOTALLY

DIFFERENT PLACE.

Reporter: WE VISITED

THOSE PLACES.

CAMDEN IS A SMALL CITY,

REALLY.

IT IS NINE SQUARES MILES.

Reporter: WITH MICHAEL

DELEON.

HE SPENT THREE YEARS

SHOOTING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT

THE CITY.

THERE ARE 70,000, THEY

SAY, PEOPLE IN CAMDEN, AND

IT IS SO SMALL.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU DRIVE

AROUND THE CITY, THERE IS

SUCH DEVASTATION AND POVERTY

AND CRIME AND DRUGS.

Reporter: CAMDEN SITS

IN A THRIVING CITY, BUT

THEIR REALITY IS NOT NEARLY

AS BRIGHT.

MORE THAN 42% OF ITS

POPULATION LIVES BELOW THE

POVERTY LEVEL.

AT ONE TIME, CAMDEN WAS A

THRIVING FACTORY TOWN, HOME

TO CAMPBELL'S SOUP AND RCA.

THE RACE RIOTS OF 1969 AND

'71 LEFT THE CITY IN RUINS.

AND THOSE WHO COULD AFFORD

TO LEAVE DID.

AND THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY

YEARS OF POLITICAL

CORRUPTION.

WHAT WAS TROUBLING ME SO

MUCH ABOUT WHAT WAS

HAPPENING IN CAMDEN AND

OTHER URBAN CITIES IN NEW

JERSEY WAS THE AMOUNT OF

KIDS THAT WERE DYING DUE TO

VIOLENCE AND DRUG ABUSE.

I GOT A MEMBER OF MY FAMILY

KILLED, AND IT DIDN'T STOP

MY DRUG ADDICTION AND DIDN'T

STOP MY GANG INVOLVEMENT.

AND I WAS PRESENT IN THE

ROOM WHEN A GANG MEMBER SHOT

AND KILLED MY BEST FRIEND,

AND I WENT TO PRISON FOR

AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER.

Reporter: AFTER SERVING

TEN YEARS, HE CHOSE DEDICATE

HIS LIFE TO HELP CHILDREN

MAKE BETTER CHOICES WITH

THEIRS.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG

WITH THIS CITY THAT CAN'T BE

FIXED BY WHAT IS RIGHT WITH

THIS CITY.

AND THEY EN INFLUENCE, IN A

POSITIVE WAY, OTHER PEOPLE.

Reporter: HE INTRODUCED

US TO ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

TAWANDA JONES TURNS THE CITY

WATER TOWER INTO A DANCE

HALL FIVE DAYS A WEEK.

THIS IS CAMDEN'S

SOPHISTICATED SISTER'S DRILL

TEAM, A DANCE TROUPE JONES

STARTED WHEN SHE WAS ONLY

15.

SHE WAS INSPIRED BY HER

GRANDFATHER WHO BOUGHT THE

TEAM THEIR FIRST UNIFORMS

AND DRUMS 26 YEARS AGO.

MY GRANDFATHER JUST SEES

THE GREAT IN EVERYONE.

WHAT HE CONSTANTLY FED TO ME

IS IS THERE IS NOT ENOUGH

PEOPLE THAT CARE.

YOU HAVE TO BE ONE OF THOSE

PEOPLE.

Reporter: TAWANDA'S

GIRLS KNOW SHE CARES FROM

THE MOMENT THEY MET.

I JUST MET HER JUST ONLY

FOUR MONTHS AGO, AND SHE IS

LIKE A SECOND MOM.

SHE WANTS SO MUCH FOR ME,

AND I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW MUCH

SHE WANTS FOR ME AND HOW

MUCH SHE WANTS ME TO SUCCEED

IN LIFE.

AND THAT SURPRISED ME, YOU

KNOW?

AND I'M JUST SO HAPPY.

I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

I CAN'T EVEN SAY IT ENOUGH.

WHEN THEY'RE IN THAT

WATER TOWER, THEIR WHOLE

EXPRESSION, EVERYTHING

CHANGES.

EVERYTHING CHANGES.

THEY REALLY LEAVE A LOT AT

THE DOOR, AND THEY DANCE THE

PAIN AWAY.

Reporter: TAKE DESIREE,

WHO LOST HER FATHER WHEN SHE

WAS ONLY 3.

SHE WAS LYING ON THE

STREET AND A DRUNK

MOTORCYCLE HIT HIM.

AND HE SLIPPED A MILE OR

TWO, AND HE BROKE ALL OF HIS

BONES AND DIED.

Reporter: BUT DESIREE

IS STILL A DADDY'S GIRL.

AND SHE THOUGHT OF HIM WHEN

THEY PERFORMED ON "DANCING

WITH THE STARS."

WE HAVE NEVER HAD A

DROPOUT.

WE HAVE NEVER HAD A

DROPOUT.

GOD.

GOD.

I CAN'T POSSIBLY TAKE CREDIT

FOR NONE OF THIS.

YOU KNOW, IT'S DEFINITELY

ALL GOD.

*

WORTH THE PRICE, THE PRICE

WE HAVE TO PAY *

WHAT OTHERS SEE AS

CAMDEN, YOU KNOW, I REALLY

CAN'T SPEAK FOR THEM.

BUT THIS IS MY CITY, AND I

LOVE IT.

* THERE IS A PROMISE

Reporter: EPHRAIM

GRAHAM, CBN NEWS, CAMDEN,

NEW JERSEY.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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