Rochester's Teen Empowerment Center brought messages of hope and the need to expand its operation throughout the city at its annual community luncheon on Thursday.
The event at the Riverside Convention Center was more interactive than a lot of the events people may have attended there in the past. The youths from the Teen Empowerment Center presented poetry, song and stories of struggle and hope while doing things like asking each table to give high-fives to each other.
The event also honored a few people, including our own Hélène Biandudi Hofer, host and producer of Need To Know on WXXI-TV, who was presented with the Champion for Youth Leadership Award. Presenting the award to Biandudi Hofer was someone she had interviewed and mentored, Freemonta Strong, who is a youth organizer with Teen Empowerment.
“There’s so much negative and not enough positive. In Rochester there are those in the media who have done a lot to help us project our voices to audiences that we may not normally be able to reach.“
Biandudi Hofer credits Teen Empowerment with really making a difference in their community.
“Some of the most difficult stories to report and through some of the most complex issues to tackle, they, like a number of their peers, bring a perspective to the story that cannot be ignored.”
Also honored on Thursday were Ricardo and Mary Adams, who received the Peacemaker Award for their participation in the Teen Empowerment Center. Ricardo Adams talked about the need to bring Teen Empowerment Centers to other sectors of the city and asked the community to step up and help fund that effort.