I was mean, I always looked mad. I figured, if I just look mad people will leave me alone.   I felt If I did open up to people they would judge me, think different about me.  I was a bully.  I knew that the people I picked on, I could beat.  I knew they would hurt me too.  My pain came from knowing that bad things were never going to stop.  

When I came to TWP it gave me Space to breath; a chance to things about what was going on around me.  Especially like myself, my attitude, the way I talk to people. 

When I first started coming to TWP I came because I liked it.  Then when I didn’t come I felt like I wanted to come back.  Then I started coming all the time.  Now it is my home away from home.  I always know I will have a good time, something I could look forward to.

Here at TWP, we are family.  They already accepted me for who I am.  But, one day we when to Richmond for a retreat with other teen is Rise For Youth.  There I had to gain peoples trust again.  The experience helped me see that I am not the only one go through stuff in life and that we all have room for improvement.  It made me see different places I could go in life.  That retreat and all the people there made me feel like this was a place I always wanted to be.  It felt like the home I wished I had where I didn’t have to worry about anything. 

Now, let me tell you how I became the TWP photographer.  One day we had an event and we needed someone to take pictures.  Since I love taking pictures I decided to be the photographer that day.  Little did I know, I would become the TWP photographer forever!  One of our mentors, Mr. Nathan, gave me the opportunity to take a professional photography class.  Since that day I feel like I am a professional.  Now, I can take what I learned and teach others. 

This past summer I worked as Administrative Specialist for TWP Summer Camps.  I was happy because most people my age are not able to get a job.  It felt like I was about to run my own business, because we lead the summer camp.  It taught me that even when I have bad days I can’t quite.  We signed a contract.  I had to be on time; keep everything on schedule and do all the paper work.  It taught me that I love administrative work.  That’s something I might be able to do when I get older.  I learned if one person failed we all failed.  It also helped me open up more.  At the end of each day we did gifts and wishes.  A gift is what you liked, or what leadership skills you displayed.  A wish is what you could have done better.  That helped me learn to help other people find and correct their weakness.

Also this summer I went to Alternative Roots Week with Moma D.  Roots is Artist and Activist coming together to share ideas to improve their communities.  At Roots I learned that I am a people person.  I can fix anyone’s day and I am a good listener. 

I feel like TWP gives all of us a chance to open up and express ourselves, to show that we are somebody.  It kind of helps us to figure out what we want to be in life.  Its gives us an outlet.  It lets us teens know that people are here for you. This is a place where we can be ourselves. We don’t feel left out.  Where we can be loved and not treated any different because of who we are.  We have fun and develop leadership.  TWP helps us achieve our dreams.  We do dance, music, art, poetry, garden, and community involvement here.  TWP is our home. 

Out of everything I said today.  If you only remember one thing.  Remember this:

Even the people in the back have the same amount of potential as those in the front.  If TWP wasn’t here, you wouldn’t be able to see the real me.  I was in the back.  The back is shy people, black, LGBTQ, and people who don’t even know that they have potential.  Now nothing is holding us back. 

Alisha B.

At this camp, I’ve learned many things. I’ve become a better writer; I’ve learned to really appreciate poetry. I’ve met amazing people. I’ve enjoyed every day at this camp. The councilors have let me have the greatest experience of a lifetime. In the words of Dumbledore “you can find happiness in the darkest of times, if you remember to turn on the light.” You guys are my light.

Devon C.

This camp also helped me become a leader by writing poetry by myself and with my group. They let me get my ideas and experiences out; they listened and respected me…


I’ve always kept everything bottled up inside, and it’s really good to get it out without verbally saying it because sometimes that makes me really emotional. I love TWP because everyone loves everyone and accepts them regardless of how they are different and where they are from and all.” Indira, 13


I cannot put in words my gratitude to you for letting me join Teens With a Purpose. Growing up I’ve always found myself lonely due to my differences. I feel like here however, my uniqueness is what makes me accepted.

Elijah. J.

My cousin introduced me a few months ago. Yes, like many other people here, I believe this is my home away from home. It helps me to get away from my problems. It is what I would call my safe haven, and would recommend it to my friends. I find it amazing that the center feeds us. Not everyone has food at home and it is cool that they can eat at least one time a day.

Tatiyna P.

Two years ago I became a member of TWP. I like what they stand for and I am able to express myself in a judgment free atmosphere. The most positive thing about the center is being able to express yourself and interacting with other teens. I love that I am able to recite poetry and get what is on my mind off.

Danielle K.

I enjoy the music studio, I have been producing music for two years, and I enjoy it. The center helps me to work on my weak areas and develop my music skills. I usually come on Mondays because more people are here for me to interact with. In five years I see myself graduating high school and focusing on computer engineering. The teen center has taught me discipline and helps me stay focused academically.

Asuntae E.

I have been a member for the past 3 years. TWP has helped me express myself. It is wonderful that we are able to do things in the community. They taught me to not be afraid to speak my mind. I am able to share my wonderful experiences with my friends and famly. The most influential person here to me is Andre. He treats us as individuals and does not talk down to us. In the next five years I see myself as a business owner. TWP will help me with that because they teach me leadership skill.

Aryana T.

I have been a member for five years. I feel that the center changes lives. Some people are in gangs and the center may have some people who are or were in gangs. Then TWP show them a different route. The center has help to keep me out of trouble. I could have been around negative people but instead here is alot of positive people. I see myself in the next five years being a famous comedian on tv. The center will help me become famous through music and poetry.

Tyrin C.

I thank teens with a purpose because they taught me that I don’t have to use drugs for relief. They also taught me how to say no to drugs and sex. I learned that unprotected sex can cause STD’s and HIV. It can also make a big difference on my life. They taught me that if someone is being disrespectful to me how to handle it because it’s not okay, neither is bulling. I really cant put in words how much teen with a purpose taught me.

Thank you  – Jordan R.

Every teen HAS a purpose. TWP is just the vessel used to strengthen the talents and gifts we all possess. My experience there has been one of growth, love, and knowledge. It allows me to share what I know && receive new knowledge every meeting.

ShaJhea W.

TWP has helped me stay out of trouble, while also keeping me busy in a positive way. I enjoy coming every day.

Khire G.

Coming to TWP, you’re going to grow as an artist and acquire wisdom not just knowledge. I have learned to love and accept everyone. When I teach other young people, I learn how to communicate with different people but I give love. And when you give love, you get it back. It may not be physical but you can pick up on the energy that they give back to me.

Abdual B.

Teens With a Purpose has helped me a lot. They helped me control my anger, also help me bring up my confidence. They show me what to do in certain situations and ways to prevent situations. They’re helping me now to be a leader and showing me ways to work with people. The people here are good and not judgemental towards anybody. TWP accepts people for who they are not what they have. I love TWP and I plan to make a positive impact on the community. Thank you TWP!

Solomon H.

TWP help change my mind on life by inspiring other people and inspiring myself. TWP also help change my mind by stopping and showing me a different lifestyle.

Melvin H.

TWP has changed my mind about college, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, but now I’m sure were going to go. TWP has helped me learn about more things in life.

Love Celecia P.

Camp has helped me deal with conflicts better, because I’m usually not one to deal with them. It’s helped me become a better reader, and feel comfortable speaking in front of people.

William H.

Camp helped me become a better leader by learning by learning not to judge people because they are different.


Being in camp helped me do a lot of stuff. I never knew I could like to dance and jump rope. It also helped me to become a better leader by finding my purpose in life, controlling my anger, leaving the past behind me, and always remembering that I am the most important person in my life.

Dominick W.

I feel like I’m a better leader and I have been more accepting to people. Whether you can tell or not, I’m a very blocking person I don’t really like talking to people with attitudes. Being forced to be around different people made me a little more open minded.



Taekwon has been more mature, responsible and out spoken.  I have seen an uplift in his self-esteem.

Tytiana has spoken more openly about pressures teens face as well as speaking up.

As an educator and a parent I wholeheartedly support TWP in all of its efforts and endeavors. Since my son joined TWP I have seen vast improvement in his leadership and professionalism.   I have seen his self confidence, self worth, and self esteem grow by leaps and bounds.  TWP is a place and a time where he can truly be himself in his own element and that is strongly encouraged and supported. It is for this reason that I often recommend this amazing organization to many of the parents, students, and friends that I encounter.  Anyone that can be involved should be involved. TWP rocks!

Nykole F.


Dear Deidre:
Please accept my sincere appreciation for the role that Teens with a Purpose played in our 2012 Student Youth Diversity Ambassadors Training in July at Virginia Wesleyan College.  The youth presentation was inspiring, engaging and thought provoking. It truly showcased the outstanding talents in our young people. Many of the participants, who were from secondary schools, expressed very positive feedback. They recommended that we expand the opportunities in next years’ training. Teens with a Purpose supports and encourages our youth to take on those leadership roles and to truly find their place in the world in whatever venue, and role that is relevant to them.

It is my hope that we can continue to partner as Teens With a Purpose plans and holds the outstanding events in the coming year. Our schools will encourage those interested youth to take advantage of these opportunities

The youth involved benefit greatly from these experiences and it is truly commendable that your organization exists to pave the road.

Thank you for your tireless commitment and dedication.  It will pay off in a big way.

Esther Monclova-Johnson, PhD.
Director, Equity Affairs, Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Dear Deirdre Love:

Thank you so much for your generous donation of 8 staff members of Teens With A Purpose to the VRPS Eastern Service Back to Basics program for Hampton Roads VRPS members.

As you know, our youth of today in our community go misunderstood and are in need of productive activities to keep them away from gang violence and out of trouble. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, our youth are at the most risk, and they make up the largest number of clients we will serve at the recreation centers throughout Hampton Roads.

With the generous support of your organization, we were able to help many of these recreation centers and individuals not only to meet the need of keeping our youth active, safe, and involved, but to work toward a brighter future with programs in teen awareness for the youth of Hampton Roads.

We look forward to working with your organization in future trainings and events as your organization supports and helps educate the business professionals who work directly with the youth and teens of today. With your staffs vast knowledge of teens, we will help educate the adults of today on how to work better with the teens of tomorrow.

Thank you again, and we look forward to your continued support.

Roberto Ramos
Recreation Supervisor, City of Norfolk RPOS