Camden, New Jersey, is quite possibly the most troubled and dangerous city in America. But a far different story lies beneath this cold surface. It is a story of hope, of voices struggling desperately against deaf ears. In the summer of 1999, a college student named Stuart Albright arrived in Camden full of youthful idealism and a naïve sense of justice. Blessed Returns is the moving, deeply personal account of a young man's coming-of-age amidst a tumultuous and life-changing summer. Albright worked at a youth facility in the heart of Camden's blighted, industrial core, and he discovered a community governed by faith and resilience in the face of unimaginable despair. It is a place filled with passionate and unforgettable characters. Moving seamlessly between a heartbreaking tale of loss and a forceful call for social change, this book is a message that cries out to be heard. It is a story laid bare with all the honesty and confession of a meaningful prayer.
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About the Author
Stuart Albright earned his B.A. in English and Creative Writing from UNC Chapel Hill and a M.Ed. from Harvard. When he was only 26, Albright published Blessed Returns, a memoir about a summer he spent working in the slums of Camden, New Jersey. In 2009, Albright published Sidelines, which was hailed by the Sun Journal as "the definitive word" on high school football. His work has appeared in the News and Observer, Herald-Sun, and Independent Weekly. Albright currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Jordan High School in Durham, NC, where he also coaches football. In 2006, Albright was named the Durham Public Schools Teacher of the Year. In 2008, he received the Milken National Educator Award, dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher Magazine. In addition to teaching, Albright is a freelance editor and a regular guest lecturer on issues of urban education. He lives with his wife and son in Durham. For more information, please go to www.stuartalbright.com.