Many thanks to all who joined us for Teen Empowerment Rochester's 2015 Annual Community Luncheon on May 7 at the Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. The day was a great success! Click here for info about our event hosts, sponsors, and honorees.

"Our Lives Matter!" Watch the original dance performed at the luncheon by TE youth. The music is the Oscar-winning song "Glory" by John Legend and Common, from the movie "Selma."

Click here to view a past opening number performance and get a taste of this unique and powerful event. See a video preview of the luncheon on Rochesterhomepage.net.

Read about the inspiration one attendee found at the 2014 luncheon, from Rochester Magazine: Suburban Outlaw: Progress powered by teens. We hope you will come to be equally inspired by the young people working for change in their community.

It's not too late to make a donation in support of our work.


Teen Empowerment brings police and teens together in dialogue in Rochester. The Democrat & Chronicle calls this Work to ensure Baltimore riots don't happen here.

Check out Rochesterhomepage.net's video and text profile of three TE youth: Teen Empowerment youth organizers move forward.

In Finding teens jobs, one at a time the Democrat and Chronicle's editorial board talks about TE's efforts to boost teen employment in the city.

Here's a great profile of TE's work in Rochester in the D&C: Making things better: Teen Empowerment.

Read about TE Rochester from the D&C's front page in 2014: Program aims to solve teen jobs problem.


Teen Empowerment youth organizers are busy every day organizing creative initiatives that involve neighborhood youth in working for a better community.

Supporting each other in sharing their hearts, struggles and visions toward making real change, together.

Their participation in community forums has brought tangible, moving insights to community leaders.

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Teen Empowerment Rochester and the Rochester Police Department have received the MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Award for their work together to improve safety and strengthen community-police relations. Read all about it.

Genesee Street Mural!

TE commissioned master artist Eder Muniz to work with 5 youth apprentices with close ties to the Southwest neighborhood to install a mural one block from our storefront site.

The mural replaced a drab concrete wall to radiate a spirit of hope and pride, spreading the visual reach of community engagement down Genesee Street where neighbors and students who attend Wilson Commencement and Foundation Academies must walk past boarded-up and burnt-out houses, street fights, and drug dealing every day. TE surveyed nearly 100 youth in the neighborhood to develop the concept for the mural, which portrays people bringing what they have to offer to move community forward together. 

The mural was made possible by contributions from NYSCA, Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, The Synthesis Collaborative and McMannis Painting.

Watch this powerful performance by TE Associate Coordinator Shanterra Randle, whose poem is inscribed on the mural

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Peace March 2012

At this Peace March, we marched in honor of Lawrence Richardson—our friend, colleague and mentor to next generation YOs—who was killed on April 9, 2012. Our devastation transformed into hope led by youth and by Lawrence's and other murder victims' families.

TE youth organizers created original chants and taught them to the marchers with the help of percussionist and performance artist Topher Holt.

The voices and unbounded energy of hundreds of youth and supportive adults drew an enthusiastic audience all along Jefferson Ave. and Flint St. with messages of unity and peace.

First-Ever Southwest Neighborhood Youth Summit

The youth organizers used their first SW Neighborhood Youth Summit to challenge their peers to understand and approach “the game of life” in a new way—no longer playing into traps that get people stuck and fuel violence, and instead, building unity and power to get the resources and attention their community needs.

The YOs collaboratively created a one-hour show that included an original play, monologues, spoken word, hip hop, speeches, and a video of Lawrence promoting his message of non-violence and steering away from retaliation.

Male-Female Dialogues

Consistently, thousands of Rochester youth in TE focus groups over the past 10 years had identified teen pregnancy and dysfunctional, and sometimes violent, “drama” in relationships between young women and men as barriers in their lives. The past two years, 30 young men and women joined the youth organizers for the series—8 parallel sessions with males and females meeting separately and 5 sessions together—to examine and build understanding around issues that contribute to relationship drama that leads to street conflicts, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, absentee parents, etc.

TE enlisted the support of “community elders” to participate in the sessions—six women and seven men—which brought the richness and community wholeness of a rite of passage, two of whom had been involved with TE as youth.  Watch youth talk about their experience here.

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Hanif Abdul-Wahid
Community Liaison
Monroe County Department of Planning and Development

Scott Burdett
Vice President, Marketing/Brokerage Services
Flaum Management Co.

Jeffrey Clark, Sr.
Vice President, Global Commercial Banking
Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Rick DeJesus-Rueff. Ed.D.
Vice President, Student Affairs & Diversity Initiatives
St. John Fisher College

Jonathon Hand
Problem Solver Reporter
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Judith W. Kaplan
President, Community Planning Associates

John M. Klofas, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
Rochester Institute of Technology

Edward J. Nowak
Retired Public Defender, Monroe County

Danielle Ponder, Esq.
Assistant Public Defender, Monroe County / Artist

Shirley Sommers, Ph.D.
Director, Frontier Center for Urban Education
Nazareth College

Bob Thomas Tobin
Professor, Simon School of Business
University of Rochester

Eric Van Dusen
Director of Community Initiatives, NeighborWorks Rochester

Cieara White
Former Teen Empowerment Youth Organizer

Jeremy Wolk, Esq.
Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP

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