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I attended the youth summit with my 15-year-old son today, and truly loved every minute of it! It was very informative – the vendors, Dr. Gaertner, the performances. Miss Julianna moved me to tears with her song at the end. I left feeling “empowered”. I finally feel like I’ve found what I’ve been searching for – for my son. Thanks! I look forward to participating next year!

Tess Harris – Parent

The Teen Enrichment Network is a beneficial program for our youth and their families in the community to help encourage and motivate teens to start thinking about their futures.  The seminars have focused topics that provide great information and guidance for youth to apply to their lives today.  It is a very supportive network of professionals and families working together to improve the community and our teen’s futures.  I highly encourage all members of the community to participate in the seminars and see what a difference the programs can make in your lives.  Remember, it takes a village.
Trina Hadden – Parent

 

Donald Robinson, photographed for Discover Magazine at his home in Spotsylvania, Va. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.

Difference Maker: Spotsylvania’s Donald Robinson works overtime to help young people reach their goals.

As he drove to his job at the Dahlgren Naval Support Facility two years ago around Christmas time, everything went silent and a message appeared on his windshield.

Was it a stroke? Was he losing his mind?

The episode frightened Donald Robinson, a 57-year-old retired U.S. Marine and police sergeant at the King George County military base.

But before long, the message started to become more and more clear as all manner of people—pastors, old friends and family he didn’t even know he had—came into the fold and confirmed what he had to do.

And that was to create a vehicle that would bring together people of all backgrounds as a way to help young people find a path to their goals.

That vehicle became TEN—Teen Enrichment Network.

Since that fateful night in 2015, Robinson’s brainchild has continued to grow. The nonprofit group has hosted several summits and handed out college scholarships to deserving teenagers.

Angela Hinrichs, an assistant principal at Massaponax High School, said she had a chance meeting at the school with Robinson that changed “my professional career and [introduced] me to a true hometown hero.”

She gave him names of people who could help him create his “vision of helping youth in our community,” and he quickly reached out to them.

Robinson, a man with boundless energy and religious devotion, credits those around him—including his wife Bronwen, numerous area pastors, and public education professionals such as Scott Baker, the superintendent of the Spotsylvania Schools system—for the growing success of TEN.

“All of us are working together,” he said during an interview at his Spotsylvania home.

TEN has hosted three summits, covering a range of topics, all geared toward mentoring young people and providing resources that can guide them to what path works best for them.

“I want to get kids to celebrate themselves,” he said. “I want to get them excited about being an engineer, about being a lawyer, about being a teacher. … We want to make sure they’ve got options.”

TEN is “a hub for everything,” he said.

While TEN had gotten off to a good start, Robinson said he felt he and the program could do more. So he set a goal to offer scholarships. So far, TEN has presented two scholarships, totaling $1,500.

His goal is to raise more scholarship money.

TEN is raising more funds, with help from business sponsorships and expos that are part of the summits.

The expos include vendor booths focused on teens and families, which help raise funds for the scholarships. TEN also has set up a GoFundMe site for donations.

Robinson realizes it can be a challenge to reach young people through such things as summits and expos. So TEN organizers seek to liven up the events.

The theme for the next summit, which will be held Nov. 18 at Salem Fields Community Church in Spotsylvania, is “A Celebration of Art.”

The event will include singers, musicians and dancers.

Robinson said that among others recording artist Eric Stanley will perform, as well as an 8-year-old Maryland boy who has been accepted as a contestant on “America’s Got Talent.”

He hopes to draw attention to TEN through entertainment as a way to deal with real life, and sometimes serious, topics.

“We’re blessed,” Robinson said of TEN and the people who continue to join in to help. “It keeps growing.”


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My husband, daughter, and I had a wonderful time at the Teen Enrichment Summit.  I love that the organization is giving scholarships to student who deserve it.  We also loved the entertainment.  I look forward to the next Summit!
Anthony, Malinda, and Anaya Sands

 

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Having the opportunity to work with someone that you can depend on, someone you can confide in, someone that takes the time to help you sort out your thoughts and guides you to the right direction as an adult and now taking it to another level, OUR YOUTH!  Donald Robinson, you’re about to impact and educate our community in such a way by providing the knowledge, time and resources to our youth and families.

I have never seen a group that brings together new parents of young adults and teenagers themselves; this organization is establishing just that.  Yes, you can research daily situations; how to do life do’s and don’ts with your young troubled teenager, or even what to do before things get rough. Teen Enrichment is providing everything you need to understand what direction is the best way to follow, or what direction to follow if your young adult isn’t troubled; it fits everyone.

I attended this seminar not too long ago and had the opportunity to bring my family and witness the guest speakers. They spoke about their challenges and sacrifices that have made them who they are. It’s interesting how they have paved the way for our youth, all our kids need to do is follow the path.

Both my daughters 10 and 14, Hispanic and Black young ladies, walked out that day saying: “Mom, I can be more than a girl from Spotsylvania, I can be anything”.

We enjoyed every speaker that day.

Outstanding Seminar.

Margarida McBride – Parent

“Hello Everyone! My name is Marta Locklear and I was the first place winner for the Teen Enrichment Scholarship of 2017. I applied to the scholarship with a video of me discussing how I believe social media should be positively used and I am writing this blog post today to further discuss my ideas on social media and using it in a positive way.

On social media it is so easy to make your life seem perfect through the photos, videos, or texts you post but I personally feel that that is one of the biggest problems with social media. Teens should not focus on posing the right way or getting the perfect angle, they should post pictures that show their true, untouched selves. Big companies such as Victoria Secret need to start campaigns like American Eagle’s Aerie brand where all of the models are not retouched. Young teens flip through magazines, scroll through Twitter, and Instagram and all they see are big brands photoshopping their models to unrealistic beauty standards. Everyone is beautiful just the way they are and I believe a step that needs to be taken for teens to gain back their confidence is to change the way we use social media.
Since I am a youtuber I have a decent following on my youtube channel and my Instagram and I always try my hardest to be as real as I can. And I must admit sometimes it’s hard to film a morning routine video without any make up on or having to take my make up off in a night routine video. And it took me awhile to realize that everyone gets acne at some point in their life and I don’t want to fool my audience into thinking that I have perfect skin when (trust me) I don’t. Having that realization and taking that first small step has changed me into a person that I personally like more. I love being real with my audience and I get so much positive feedback from it.
Be yourself. Post quirky pictures and funny videos. Don’t delete the tweets where you misspelled something, just respond to yourself and make a joke about it.
I hope for a future where teens aren’t afraid to express themselves and I believe we are slowly making our way to that future.
I would like to thank the Teen Enrichment program for giving me a voice and an amazing opportunity to share my ideas to an even bigger audience.
hugs and kisses!
Marta Locklear”

 

 

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