Teens With a Purpose, is actively engaged in creating awareness and contributing to the decrease in Youth Violence. TWP endeavors to foster a violence-free environment where youth can thrive, committing to a mission where young people are viewed as stakeholders in the development of effective long-term violence prevention solutions which improves the quality of life for those who live, work, play, and invest in Hampton Roads. Teens With a Purpose has been partnering with the Norfolk Police Athletic League to help build relationships between teens and Norfolk Police Officers, that initiative was spearheaded by Officer Ali Williams and now retired Officer Carla Howard. Recently, TWP was offered the opportunity to further their reach of the anti-violence message by creating two public service announcements that address healthy conflict resolution and encourages cultivating relationships with Police Officers as trusted and supportive adults.
There have been nineteen reported homicides in Norfolk thus far in 2014. Included in these statistics is the life and homicide of a TWP member’s cousin, 18-year-old Tyquisha Craig killed on March 23, 2014. TWP members, and youth in general, are subjected to violence too often in their everyday lives. TWP combats this by arming youth with training to employ techniques from the evidence-based curriculum like, Choose Respect which addresses relationship bullying and dating violence. The program also incorporates on-going violence prevention and education workshops for teens through their partnership with the Garden of Hope Domestic Violence Prevention Program. These workshops help teens recognize and address coercive and abusive relationships teens may encounter. Choose Respect goals and objectives are for youth to establish healthy relationship behaviors to prevent, report, or stop dating and bullying when suspected, reported or observed.
TWP has presented many workshops and events that address violence and promote peace and unity throughout the years. For two years in a row, TWP presented F.U.S.E. Festival, a free community festival sponsored by the City of Norfolk that focuses on peace, unity, spirit and edutainment. In 2013, TWP collaborated to present a Peace Rally for Trayvon Martin, as a peaceful and positive way for the community to combat violence. This year, TWP will continue to provide resources and tools to combat youth violence. Teens With a Purpose presented a forum and workshop in September 2014 featuring Officer Ali Williams of the Norfolk Police Department and Dexter Godfrey of LAS Academy and YouthMax to give youth a safe place to ask questions, express their concerns and provide positive conflict resolution strategies that saves lives.