By DaMya Lea Gurley
Teens On The Move is no longer an active organization, but it was a big part of my life. This alternative program started in 1997 for girls 10 to 15 years of age. In 2006, the program was expanded to included boys and girls up to 18 years of age. Founder Clementine “June” Smith established the organization to make it easier for children of the Glen Hazel neighborhood to find mentors, friends and even benefactors for college.
Early in the organization’s history, Mrs. Smith began to have debutante balls for the girls of the neighborhood. Girls took etiquette and ballroom dancing classes in the weeks leading to the ball. When boys entered the organization in 2006, they trained with the Junior ROTC program of Oliver High School. In addition to being educational and fun, the balls helped raise money so that Teens On The Move could take children to events like Cirque Du Soleil as well as concerts by Jordan Sparks, Jesse McCartney and Boyz II Men. The organization slowly began to fade in 2010. Mrs. Smith and I talked briefly about the organization’s demise. She said that the main reason was because most of the kids were now older and the organization didn’t have any newcomers. As sad as that may be, Mrs. Smith now has a very successful program called “Love Is in the Air Ministries” for couples from several churches to have dinners, dates, parties and lots of other things for new and older couples.
Not only was I a part of Teens On The Move, but Mrs. Smith is also my grandmother. Although the program didn’t last, I’m very proud to see my grandmother still helping others. I really do miss Teens On The Move, but I know that all good things must come to an end.