VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Many individuals gathered at the Zeiders American Dream Theater in Virginia Beach Sunday where local group Teens With a Purpose payed homage to Hampton Roads Black History through poetry.

The event was held Sunday with many city leaders in attendance, including Virginia Beach City Councilman Aaron Rouse who offered words to the youth.

“Don’t let this suit and tie fool you… I am from Youngs Park, Norfolk Virginia, raised in a single-parent home where my mother raised four kids by herself, my father in prison…” Rouse said. ‘This is not a finished product… I am not done yet. It is not how you start it is how you are going to finish that matters. We need more creatives in politics; we need you to engage civically, and we need your voice.” Rouse said.

Guest speakers for the event included Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. Other distinguished guests included Norfolk Deputy City Manager Lavoris Pace, Virginia Beach Assistant City Manager Monica Chapperro, Norfolk Booker T Washington High School Assistant Principal Curtis Young, and members of the Union Kempsville Princess Anne Training School Board of Directors and Alumni. Delegate Jackie Glass also served as a presenter during the event.

Four youth were recognized for their stellar poetry. Salma Amrour of Suffolk and Ayana Askew or Norfolk were both named Youth Poet Laureates. Areen Syed of Virginia Beach and Marjorie Cenese of Norfolk were named Youth Poet Laureate Ambassadors as runner-ups to Salma and Ayana.

For more information about Teens With a Purpose, visit