Just across the Delaware River, the Camden Special Services District (CSSD) has a new tool to share the happenings of its local small business and arts community, thanks to the work of young technologists.
CSSD partnered with Hopeworks, a tech education nonprofit that helps young adults establish tech careers, to develop the website My Downtown Camden. This site highlights small businesses, events and restaurants in the downtown area, as well as lists resources for biz owners, residents and visitors.
John Kissling, web director at Hopeworks, said the partnership was mutually beneficial.
“Hopeworks was able to provide valuable perspective and authentic insights as both a nonprofit supporting a similar demographic, and as an expert in web development,” he said in a statement. “In addition to creating a user-friendly website that highlights the Camden community, the young adults who worked on this project were able to boost their resume to include this experience.”
Hopeworks has previously partnered with other organizations in the past to offer its webdev trainees real-world experience. Last fall, for instance, the nonprofit partnered with Comcast to build an interactive map of small businesses that have participated in the Comcast RISE program.
While Hopeworks recently opened a hub in Philly’s Kensington area, the organization’s roots have been in Camden for over 20 years. This website is part of that city’s efforts to improve the Downtown Business Improvement District, which is run by CSSD. The goal is to highlight the community and make information about Camden events and resources easier to access.
“Having a singular online resource for events, business listings, restaurant promotions, and all things Downtown Camden has been needed and requested for a long time, and we couldn’t be happier with how the website turned out,” said Adrian Rentas, placemaking and public space manager at CSSD. “Downtown Camden-based nonprofits helping each other in support of the redevelopment of this area is a beautiful thing to see. We look forward to seeing how people use the site and how it evolves as a resource for the community.”Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
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