Article and photos by Urban Alliance staff.

This summer, over the course of two weeks, The Hartford Project (THP), an initiative of the Urban Alliance network, was host to 355 youth and 97 youth leaders who came together to build relationships, serve the community and to ‘share and experience God’s love in Hartford.’ 

“Youth formed new friendships across church, denominational, town and racial lines. New relationships within churches were also formed or strengthened,” explained Jacquelyn Perreault, Administrative Assistant for The Hartford Project. “God was present, and His love was experienced and shared throughout Hartford.”

Phillip Beatty, Pastor of Student Ministries at Trinity Covenant Church in Manchester, added that youth “learned more about themselves, others, and the City of Hartford. They grew closer to God and to His vision for seeing communities transformed by love.”

Throughout the weeks, youth came together to worship and serve the community at several churches and organizations that are participants in the Urban Alliance network, including The Citadel of Love, Glory Chapel International Cathedral, Judah House, Hartford City Mission, and Youth Challenge of Connecticut. Youth from Urban Alliance network participants Trinity Covenant Church, Valley Brook Community ChurchWintonbury Church, Glory Chapel International Cathedral and House of Praise and Worship were also a part of THP.

The teens participated in service projects at 29 different worksites, where they prepared meals, did yard work, tended gardens, assisted with summer youth programs, visited with elderly residents and held car washes, in addition to many other projects. 

“It was a great experience giving back to the community,” said youth leader Sandy Cruz from House of Praise and Worship. 

THP teens and leaders also performed twice at State House Square in downtown Hartford. Week one participants held a gospel choir concert and week two participants were a part of a large flash mob. 

“It was so powerful to see youth from all walks of life come together at the Old State House and proclaim God’s love over Hartford. That was awesome! It brought goose bumps!” said Joel Cruz, Jr., pastor at House of Praise and Worship.

Jaleith Gary, Urban Alliance staff member and THP home dinner host added, “It [was] a completely unapologetic expression of God’s love in the center of our city.”

The Hartford Project helped build relationships that spanned beyond teen to teen friendships. Thanks to THP, “relationships are being built between churches, between youth and city residents, [and] between neighbors and local neighborhood churches,” said Russell Jarvis, Urban Alliance staff member and THP home dinner host.

“I will definitely do THP again next year,” said LeAndra Reid, teen participant from House of Praise and Worship, “I love connecting with different people. But most of all, connecting with God.”