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Al Roker in ‘Our Neck of the Woods’ to Honor Teens

Most of us know Al Roker as the jocular Today Show weatherman who ends his weather segments with the phrase, “That’s what’s going on around the country, here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods.”

What many do not know is that Roker is passionate about supporting the work of organizations that mentor children, particularly teens.

On Friday, November 9, Roker was in ‘our neck of the woods’ to honor one such organization – Teens with a Purpose (or TWP) – at the 2012 TWP Gala held at the Westin Hotel in Virginia Beach.

Al Roker

In its 15th year, TWP is a peer led movement that supports youth so “they can grow up into competent, healthy people and develop to their fullest potential.” The organization originated in 1996 with a mission to provide HIV & STD prevention services to teens considered at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

Today, TWP has expanded its focus to include peer-to-peer programs, events and outreach that serve to empower, effect personal change, and improve lives of others in the Hampton Roads area. TWP tackles issues such bullying, homelessness, safe driving, teen sex, and other matters that can derail a youths’ future success.

From L-R Missy Davis, Nicole Livas (Mistress of Ceremony, Anchor, WAVY-TV 10/Fox 43), Kristen Joyal.

From L-R Francena McCorory, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (Track and Field) and Kelli Davis

This year’s gala, a third in a row for Roker, was dubbed the Move Makers Awards Gala and focused on honoring youth who have made significant strides over the past year in the face of adversity, and adults who inspired youth and contributed to their empowerment. The so-called “Move Makers” were nominated and selected based upon strides made in categories such as personal growth, academic/vocational advancement, artistic expression, and/or service to others.

Nicole Peeples, Teens With a Purpose Member and Move Maker runner up.

Speaking in the Westin’s main ballroom to the more than 400 attendees who gathered for the sold-out gala, Roker congratulated the organization’s work in emphasizing the importance of peer-to-peer mentoring, particularly for at-risk youth.

“Kids want to hear from their parents,” Roker said. “But some kids don’t have parents. The next group after parents is fellow kids.”

TWP Members

Kids can have a tremendous amount of influence on other kids because “they’ve been through it,” and emerged triumphant, said Roker. “Through peer-to-peer mentoring they can show that it does get better.”

Roker also acknowledged event corporate sponsors for their involvement.

“Today’s teens will be tomorrow’s employees,” Roker said. “It is vital that companies take an interest in organizations such as TWP.”

From L-R Al Roker, Joe Thomas, Regional Vice President of GEICO, Deirdre Love, Executive Director & Founder of TWP – The Youth Movement

Click HERE to learn more about Teens with a Purpose – The Movement.

Photos by Kennesha Walker

SEE MORE PHOTOGRAPHS on the Hampton Roads Social Facebook page.


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