NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A local nonprofit hopes to take back the community by honoring the teens who work with them to make it better.

The nonprofit C.L.E.A.N. Organization is hosting their annual MLK Award luncheon Saturday, January 21, to thank the teens for their work.

The nonprofit, based in the Berkley neighborhood of Norfolk, hopes young adults in the community know they’re a resource for the teens.

Director Anthony Daniels created the organization in 2005 after he lost his nephew to violence.

“I was inspired to develop a youth organization to try to deter some of the youth and motivate them to go in a direction of good citizenship,” said Daniels.

C.L.E.A.N. stands for “citizens learning and education about neighborhoods.”

Assistant Director Lisa Montgomery got involved with C.L.E.A.N. nine years ago. She’s seen firsthand the impact their work has had on teens, including on her own daughter.

“There are a lot of kids out here who need some guidance and who really need some motivation and someone who can really step, you know, step forward and say, ‘Hey, I’m here for you,’” said Montgomery. 

They’ve even enlisted the help of former NBA player Joe Smith. The Norfolk native will be at this weekend’s luncheon. He says he was raised to be a person who gives back to the community.

“Confidence is something that a lot of these kids are missing. And even the first few times I train with them on the basketball court, you know, I could tell that their confidence is kind of low,” said Smith.

He says he hopes by sharing his experiences with teens, they’ll feel more confident in their abilities.

“The more we work at it, you know, I could see that confidence building, and building and building. And that’s just something I want to take from the basketball court, but be able to give back to, you know, the non-athletic kids,” he said.

The luncheon is this Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m. at the Southside Boys And Girls Club in Berkeley.