Virginia group exposes teens to life beyond their neighborhood

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Portsmouth nonprofit is showing teens positive environments outside of their neighborhoods and taking them on college trips.

Zion Clifton, one of several Portsmouth teens who took a college trip to Virginia State University, says the program is needed.

“I can fall asleep and I hear gunshots. It's like it's just Portsmouth. I lost my best friend AJ to gun violence,” Clifton said.

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The opportunities offered by the nonprofit organization are all part of the Joe Lee Hansley Foundation.

“It's very informative. I'm glad I found Joe at that time. It took us quite a few places. We went from Washington to Maryland. Then we went to Atlanta, that's the most recent trip. We went to pretty much every school there. We went to Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University,” Clifton said.

“I met a lot of people who really changed my perspective on life after high school,” said Rozlyn Hansley, a teenager.

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Joe Lee Hansley, the founder, says the goal of the program is for teens to:

“See that this can actually happen for them. That's why we're trying to bring them to campus so they can see what success looks like. We're going to meet you where you are at, guide you, mentor you and to get you to where you are you have to be,” Hansley said.

If you would like to register your child or teenager, click here.

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