Cuyahoga County, OH. - The month of March, many people celebrate Women's History. Women are contributors. Due to such, this is the time of the year women are recognized and honored. On this tenth day of March 2022, we acknowledge the work of Valerie Walker-Isom of Cuyahoga County.
A native of Cleveland, OH, Walker-Isom is the CEO and Founder of a nonprofit organization, Teens With Purpose. The organization helps girls between 14 - 17 identify their talents and passion. Birth in 2007, Teens With Purpose originated out of Tempe, Arizona. Tempe is a city east of Phoenix, Arizona. Walker-Isom revisits the idea of her group. "I was watching the OPRAH show. They were talking about the relationship between mothers and daughters. They had Venus and Serena Williams, and Jada Pinkett's mom's on TV. The moms were finding things about their daughters. I remember one young lady in the audience; she was with her mom, and she told a story about how her mom did not know that she was a cutter. A cutter is a person who engages in self-mutilation. I was not happy. Rather than tear her down or blame others, I decided I wanted to be part of the solutions," said Walker-Isom. During that time, Walker-Isom was a member of a local church. She consulted with the pastor's wife and immediately launched Teens With Purpose.
Walker-Isom reached out to community groups, churches, schools, neighbors, and friends in efforts to recruit young girls. Her outreach was rewarding. Her sessions permeated with young girls and mothers seeking help. "We all have something to contribute. I love young people. It is our responsibility to help them find their gift and passion. Our organization assists them with confronting issues and appearance through empowerment and praise. Wearing hair bonnets and pajamas outside the home is unacceptable. We work on daily issues. Young ladies should learn elegance. It is important to conduct ourselves appropriately, privately and publicly." stated Walker-Isom.
In 2009, Walker-Isom returned to Cleveland, OH, and continued her journey. She opened the second chapter of Teens With Purpose; the Cleveland Chapter. The organization recruited young women through the same methodology - serving the same demographic. "I wanted to raise the bar in Cleveland. There are no grants. I wouldn't say I like asking for help, but I reached out to several external groups and built partnerships. I was able to get Ginn Academy involved because I wanted the young men to take part in our organization. I built relationships with dress shops and men's wear. My relationship with mothers and fathers is good. We have all learned to work together for one common cause; the development of young persons. Annually, we have a Formal Teen Gala celebrating the graduation of the young girls who complete our 12-week session," says Walker-Isom. Due to Covid, the organization canceled the Teen Gala last year.
Valerie Walker-Isom is an educator by trade. She works for a suburban high school. Walker-Isom says, "seeing our young people daily and working with them; this only makes me want to do more. I can't help myself." Councilwoman Dana D. Anderson of Maple Heights District 4 added, "Valerie has a heart of gold. She is a valuable asset to the region. Standing on her truth, she has a special gift of peacefully bringing people together. While some women fear the fire, Val becomes it."
During election season 2021, Walker-Isom campaigned for Councilwoman of District One in Maple Heights. "The area requires leadership. People need help. I met many good people who wanted to see community growth and development, but voters spoke. I was not successful in my run. It's okay. I don't care for politics; the truth is that no one can stop me from serving our young people. I am old school, and I am glad I do not care for political games," stated Walker-Isom.
Valerie Walker-Isom is the brainchild responsible for Teens With Purpose. For 14 years, her organization has served hundreds of young ladies and families. "This is what I am supposed to do." The organization serves teen girls regardless of racial makeup. The focus is on youth empowerment, age-appropriate behavior, clothing, mentoring, self-reflection, self-help, healthy family relations, teamwork, and mental health. "As long as I am in good health, I will continue to do my part. I will pour into young people," stated Walker-Isom.
Valerie Walker-Isom attended Erieview Catholic High School and earned her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Marketing. She worked in the Marketing and Sales Industry for over 25 years. Her nonprofit "Teens With Purpose" is self-funded.
To find out more about "Teens With Purpose" and how you can get your young lady involved, please get in touch with Teens With Purpose on Facebook.