NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Like the flowers planted at Purpose Park, Teens With A Purpose continues to blossom every year, and their annual gala looks to celebrate the growth of their teens.
Ahead of this year’s “Deep Like The River” Gala, 10 On Your Side caught up with TODAY show weatherman Al Roker. He has watched the organization’s growth over the years as a board member and says their strength lies in helping those who need it most in our community.
“Teens With A Purpose can close in that lens and zero in on a specific group of young people who have specific issues, specific needs, specific goals,” Roker said.
This group doesn’t just inspire teens, but inspires those in the community to help young people across Hampton Roads. Instead of having teens pick up a basketball, teens pick up a pen or a paintbrush to find themselves.
“Give them the arts and that will blossom into so much more,” Roker said.
Staff with the nonprofit zero in on ways to engage teens through the arts. Whether through performance art, painting, glass blowing, or gardening, the goal is to show the community what these teens are capable of doing.
“When people look at certain members of our population, they make snap judgments. Well, once you see what these kids are capable of, what they’re made of, what they can do, then it changes your perception,” he said.
Even in the face of tragedy, the nonprofit jumped into action.
When one of their teens died from COVID-19 last year, they hosted a vaccine clinic to make sure they wouldn’t lose another teen to the virus.
“When you see something that works, you want to support it. And I really do believe that this model, Teens With A Purpose, could be imported, or I should say exported to other cities,” Roker said.
This year’s gala — like ones every year — honors these teens with scholarships and showcases their abilities through performances. TWP is also always looking for more teens to join their family.
“If you’re looking for something different and if you’re looking to expand your horizons, this is a program you should check out,” he said.
WAVY-TV 10 and FOX43 are proud media sponsors of this year’s gala. Tickets are no longer on sale, but you can still donate to the nonprofit and place bids on their silent auction here.