The Noblemen like a challenge and sometimes there's no greater challenge that a teenager. In 2006, as the Noblemen looked to expand our philanthropic efforts, businessman Paul Hirschbiel suggested that we explore working with young adults. Despite the obvious need to help teenagers plug into their communities, there were precious few programs designed to help get them engaged in philanthropy.

The concept of NobleTeens made sense, however we were unsure how the program would look. So we reached out to Tallwood High School to explore the opportunity of starting the first NobleTeens chapter. With students required to perform community service hours an part of the curriculum, we figured we might find receptive ears. We presented the idea to the student body in late 2007 and the concept was well received.

We organized a meet and greet with the initial NobleTeens and community leaders from local nonprofits. This showed teens how Hampton Roads leaders were working to help local kids in need.

We knew that setting an "agenda" for the students at Tallwood was a recipe for failure, so we allowed the teens to choose their own course organically. 

Throughout 2008, the students met monthly, each time with a different local nonprofit. The first half of each meeting was dedicated to understanding the charity's mission. The latter half was dedicated to getting the students to brainstorm about what they could create to help the organization reach it's goals. 

During a lively brainstorming session, the students reflected on the importance and significance of their upcoming prom season. What about those who had never had a chance to go to Prom? The idea for the first ever NobleTeens "signature project" was sparked. The Tallwood High School Students would reach out to 200 special needs adults and host a prom night. The Friend-able Prom became the signature event for the Tallwood NobleTeens.

In 2012, with the help of Dawn Miller, the NobleTeens program officially entered into 10 more of the public high schools in Virginia Beach. There are currently over 200 local students who participate in NobleTeens chapters at their high schools. The chapters meet throughout the year to discuss, organize and implement smaller projects to keep their members engaged and having fun. Like the Noblemen, the NobleTeens are strongly encouraged to keep everything fun as that is the best way to boost activity and membership.

The NobleTeens program is going strong and building more and more momentum every year. The program has developed a partnership with Operation Smile and currently provides a scholarship for two NobleTeens to attend the Operation Smile International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC) every year. ISLC is held in a different part of the world every year and offers students a once in a lifetime experience.

In 2011, the NobleTeens realized that the musical talents of their classmates could help raise money and awareness - so Teenapalooza (currently called "Summerfest") was born. This concert event brings teenagers and their bands together for a night of music and fellowship and helps raise the money fund the scholarships to send two students on the ISLC trip.

There are many other wonderful project going on with The NobleTeens. Here is a short list of some of the recent happenings with the club:

Tallwood High School NobleTeens:
- Created and hung banners and "Pawprints" for visiting exchange students. Created and hung banners and "Pawprints" for visiting exchange students.
- Provided volunteers to help the English Department Office.
- Held "The Mile of Change" fundraiser to raise money to purchase toys for The Noblemen Toy Drive.
- Participated in the JT Walk.
- Continue to hold the annual "Friendable Prom", now known as the "Spring Formal". This is a wonderful prom that is held for 
  special needs adults. Over 300 special needs adults attend this event every year!
- The Tallwood NobleTeens have a program called "A Lion in Need" where they work through the school's guidance department to 
  anonymously help fellow students who are in need.
- Participation in social nights / gatherings at the Beacon House where the teens spend social time with special needs adults.

Bayside High School:
- Hosted a lemonade stand at homecoming to raise money for CHKD.
- Raised toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive
- Developed a tutoring program with the Bayside 6th Grade Campus. The Bayside NobleTeens visit the Bayside 6th Grade Campus '
  once a week and tutor children there who need some extra help!

Salem High School:
- Volunteered to help out at the Glenwood Elementary School "Fall Fest".
- Host an annual "Special Skates" roller skating day for local children with special needs. The Salem NobleTeens take a group of special needs children out for a morning of roller skating. They push children in wheelchairs around the skating rink or assist those who can wear skates. It is a magical event!
- Hosted a field trip to Back Bay Farms for the special needs students in their school and then hosted the group to a pizza lunch at Pungo Pizza!
- Raised toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive.
- Held a drive to gather pajamas and personal items that were then donated to children at Seton Youth Shelters.


Princess Anne High School:
- Continue to host theirs annual "West Fest", a wonderful homecoming celebration which they hold especially for the special needs     students in PA High School's West Wing facility.
- Participated in the Polar Plunge and raised funds for the Special Olympics.
- Are planning a ziti dinner night for families who have a child enrolled in the West Wing.
- Are planning a field day for the West Wing students.

Cox High School:
- Raised the most toys of any NobleTeens chapter (for the second year running!) to help The Noblemen Toy Drive!
- Continue to host an AP Study night to help their fellow students prepare for exams.
- Started an effort to raise supplies for the local SPCA.

Ocean Lakes High School:
- Gathered food donations and made Thanksgiving baskets for local families in need.
- Collected toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive.
- Created Valentine's cards for the Dolphin's Circle.
- Started a weekly initiative of recognizing important people on the morning announcements at school. They ask for a moment of
  silence each week to honor a deceased faculty member, student or noteworthy figurehead.

Kellam High School:
- Held a "Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat" canned food drive.
- "Adopted" a young boy named Kaden who has a terminal illness. They provided Christmas gifts for Kaden and also held a craft fair    at school with all of the proceeds going to help pay for Kaden's medical bills.
- Raised money and toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive
- Helped another local non-profit build an obstacle course that will be used by disabled veterans.

First Colonial High School:
- Collected toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive.

- Gathered food donations and made Thanksgiving baskets for local families in need.
- Worked with the First Colonial Operation Smile Club to host a canned foor 
- Raised toys for The Noblemen Toy Drive.
- Hosted the 'Kids Area" at The Noblemen annual Oktoberfest event.

Landstown:
- Provided assistance to a family whose house burned down.
- Are partnering with the Salem NobleTeens to help host Salem's "Special Skates" roller skating day for local special needs children.

Renaissance Academy:
- Started a "Candy Grams" initiative in their school and sold candy to raise money which they then donated to "Beyond Boobs" to       support breast cancer research and programs.
- Raised toys to support The Noblemen Toy Drive.
- Started the "Book Buddies" program. The Renaissance NobleTeens go to Point O' View Elementary every other week and read to       students there and help them with their homework.
- Created the "Making a Difference Award" initiative which recognizes a staff member at the school that might not normally recieve    this type of accolade. This first recipient was a wonderful lady who works in the school cafeteria!

The Noblemen are extremely proud of our investment of time and talent with the NobleTeens. It is clear that we continue to enjoy a phenomenal return on our investment in the program. These young philanthropic leaders demonstrate the joy of giving and pass this gift along to their underclassmen who will lead their chapters in the years to come. 

 

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