HIS spine bent and his breathing labored and painful. MUSCULAR dystrophy slowly makes its way through Mr. Stevens body, shutting down muscle after muscle. Nearly quadriplegic, he relies on others to dress him, assist him to/from the bathroom and turn him from side to side every two hours during the night to ease respiratory complications. After receiving executive clemency on December 25th, 2000 from a NYS Governor for a decade of wrongful and unjust incarceration.
In 2001 our founder hit the pavement with an idea to advocate and champion change for children and families unfairly impacted by the justice system. He began helping children of incarcerated parents. Picking up children in his handicapped accessible van to keep the kids off NYC crime infested streets. He later landed weekend donated program space at a local community center.
As the number of kids in need increased, he was befriended by a record executive who helped schedule field trips at professional recording sessions in NYC (Hit Factory), took children to amusement parks, political gatherings and social events.
When a 13 year old child of an incarcerated parent living with her grandmother ran away from home, it was our quadriplegic founder who the grandparents immediately telephoned. Mr. Stevens gathered his friends, searched the crime-infested Bronx streets and interviewed the missing child peers. He soon learned of a gang related club-house inside an abandoned building, found the child there hanging out in a dim first floor vacant apartment, and had her driven home and returned safely to her grandparents’ care.
One season during the Christmas holiday his handicapped accessible van transmission caught fire and burned down. He had friends lift him out of his wheelchair, into a another vehicle and played Santa Clause delivering toys and food-stuff gift boxes to over 50 children and their families throughout various urban communities in NYC.
Over the years, under Mr. Stevens leadership IAR have taken tremendous strides and is now governed by a voluntary Board of Directors, plus a unique Board of Advisers, representing a broad array of professionals. From physicians, to scientist, music executives and just wonderful caring individuals with various skills and expertise, collectively working together to save, inspire and change lives. They help set organization policies and ultimately assure fiscal and program accountability to our community, clients and potential donors. The Board of Directors meets a minimum of twice annually, however with on-going year-long communication via conferences and emails.
Our founder have conducted speaking engagements at Yale Law School, Harvard University and Columbia University. He has appeared on various media outlets such as CNN International, BET 106 & Park, NBC, ABC, RNN, Channel 9 UPN news, 98.7 Kiss FM and Court TV and most recently featured in the episode of Harvard scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ new documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.
The noted Harvard scholar Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in his groundbreaking new six-part series. The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.
One of Mr. Gates producers Leslie Asako Gladsjo quotes in the series essay, which states, in part: “While exploring the well-known biography of Harriet Tubman, for instance, we simultaneously discovered the remarkable story of Terrence Stevens. His efforts to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline, one individual at a time, recall Tubman’s courageous forays to rescue individuals from slavery in the 1850s.”
As Mr. Stevens continues this amazing philanthropic journey, one of his greatest accomplishments has been his decade long blueprint and ability to merge low resource needs from communities of color with high resource magnets to form short term goals with sustainable long term impact.
For more information on any of our programs or to enroll a child, please contact our main office at 212.650.5894. You can email us at email@example.com