CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "What kid doesn't deserve to be given the best chance possible to succeed in the world?," said Kyle Ruffin. "That's what we all want for our children. We want that next generation to be the one that shines."
Ruffin has sought to make that dream a reality through her work as president of the Impact100 South Jersey chapter. Founded in 2017, it has amassed a membership of more than 100 women that contribute at least $1,150 each year.
"One of our goals was to raise money for organizations that aren't really enormous," said Ruffin. "So, for an organization like LUCY, a $100,000 grant is momentous."
Through their philanthropic efforts, these women have awarded over $826,000 to more than a dozen medium-to-small organizations in the area. In the year 2020, one beneficiary was LUCY Outreach (Lifting Up Camden's Youth) in Camden, New Jersey.
"We just used to meet in a parking lot and the youth would gather on some steps," said Kristin Prinn, Executive Director and Founder of LUCY Outreach. "We'll be able to do so much more in the city, county, and state here in our new state-of-the art 10,000 square foot building so much in part thanks to Impact100."
Specifically, the $100,000 grant they received is designed to help the outreach center staff undertake an 18-month course to become trauma-informed and responsive. In addition, they are able to add licensed clinical therapists and social workers to a dedicated second-floor space.
"It's becoming so much more than I've ever imagined and that the youth and I could have dreamed up," said Prinn.
Some of those young participants have graduated from the program and come back as staff members. Current students are also enjoying the opportunity to become mentors to their younger peers.
"When I'm older I want to be a teacher. So I get to, you know, experience that now," said 14-year-old Elanni Montalvo from Camden. "So, I hope it expands more, more people are involved, and I hope they do great things."