Deirdre Love, founder, and Chief Executive Officer for Teens With a Purpose (TWP) is also a visionary, curator, curriculum developer, and youth and community advocate. Born and raised in Harlem she relocated to Norfolk, Va in the late 80’ where she raised her three sons. Love’s organization pedagogy teaches that people are their own experts. No one is empty; everyone has value and knowledge to share. Hence under her leadership, the organization is a trailblazer and a celebrated organization both locally and nationally in youth literary arts with their development of the Youth Poet Laureate Program for Hampton Roads formed in 2015, the Hampton Roads Youth Poetry Team formed in 2008, and the State-wide, Virginia Youth Poet Laureate Program beginning in 2023. Their PeaceMaking/Space Making Project called Purpose Park which began in 2016 has become an oasis in the blighted neighborhood that Teens With a Purpose proudly calls home. From a gravel lot, Purpose Park now houses fruit trees, flower-lined walking paths, a vegetable & herb garden & a goldfish pond. It is a meeting space for community gatherings and an example of the results of what empowered people can accomplish together.
Love has just over three decades of training and development in the field of Creative Youth Development. Creative Youth Development, a commitment to supporting young people’s stories, ideas, and dreams through creative expression and honoring their lived experiences, is what she lives to do! She and her team of youth peer leaders and teaching artists & mentors hold space for young people to critically analyze life and control their own narrative, tell their stories, and write and rewrite themselves into their true, best selves – creatively.
Deirdre’s yogic philosophy of finding one’s peace, serving others, and causing no harm aligns with Teens With a Purpose’s guiding principles. Now as an Advanced Certified Yoga Instructor she has added yoga programming as an enrichment she lovingly shares with the community and the youth in TWP programming
Some recognitions: Recognized as Outstanding African American by Virginian Pilot January 2010; 10 Who Care award recipient Community Service WAVY-TV 10, 2011; ALLI Star Award recipient 2016 by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads; Unsung Hero Hampton Roads Pan Hellenic Society 2018; She has been appointed by Norfolk City Council to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for the St. Paul’s Area 2018; Member of the Fair and Impartial Policing Committee 2015 – 2019; Facilitator Artist At the Community Table – Americans for The Arts 2019; Panelist Creative Youth Development, Virginia Arts Commission Annual Conference 2021 love continues to uplift and celebrate youth voice and to work for the betterment of humankind with a farce focus on marginalized people. Under the leadership of Love, her organization will launch a statewide youth poet laureate program in collaboration with the National Youth Poet Laureate Program in 2023.