VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Television personality, Al Roker, of NBC’s Today Show, served as the celebrity host for the “Teens With A Purpose” (TWP) charity fundraiser Private Launch Party on May 18th at the Westin Hotel’s Lucky Star Restaurant in Town Center Virginia Beach. In attendance were Congressman Scott Rigell, Congressman Bobby Scott, Superintendent of City of Virginia Beach Public Schools Dr. James Merrill, Director of Economic Development of Virginia Beach Warren Harris and Regional Vice President of GEICO, Joseph Thomas and many other notable business, community, and civic leaders. They all gathered for the purpose of kicking-off Teens With a Purpose 2011 fundraising campaign Imagine Me, which will include a 3rd Annual Fundraiser Gala and Silent Auction featuring Al Roker on November 4, 2011 at the Westin and the 14th Annual Teen Event: Imagine Me – A Theatrical/Educational experience on November 5, 2011 at the Crispus Attucks Theatre. The program included public pledges of support, teen testimonials and performances by Hampton Roads Youth Poet, a division of this local community based organization.
GEICO pledged $20,000 as Presenting Sponsor of the 3rd Annual Fundraiser Gala and Silent Auction. The funds raised throughout the Imagine Me campaign will be used to fund over 25 free community educational programs, fund year-round training and group meetings for new and current teen advocates, provide quarterly incentives for teen peer advocates, offer a pilot teen summer enrichment program for 20 or more deserving Youth, and extend staffing to support programming. A portion will also be used to fund Hampton Roads Youth Poets trip to San Francisco to represent Hampton Roads in an international youth poetry competition BRAVE NEW VOICES, as seen on HBO.
“Teens with a Purpose” was developed in 1996 with a mission to promote abstinence and help build self-esteem through innovative programs for teens in the Hampton Roads area. Throughout the year, TWP hosts numerous events and seminars to provide HIV and STD prevention information and focus on preventing gang violence, dating abuse, teen pregnancy, distracted teen driving and other life-changing issues facing today’s teens. Through open mic’s and edutainment workshops, local youth serve as facilitators, presenters, and peer mentors. Additionally, the organization utilizes evidence based curriculums such as Community Promise; Choose Respect, Reducing the Risk and Sistah.
“We want to continue to provide young people with a platform to empower one another while using their voices, energy and talents to effect personal change. Utilizing the arts, peer-led programs and community events allows them to assist in improving the lives of others and foster a more knowledgeable community. All while in a nonjudgmental safe environment,” states Deirdre A. Love, Founder and Executive Director of TWP.