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 on/off the toilet and turn him in bed 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, advocating and championing change for 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 mogul who helped schedule field trips at professional recording sessions in NYC (Hit Factory), took children to amusement parks, political gatherings, social events and even VIP celebrity functions.
When a 13 year old child of an incarcerated parent living with her grandmother ran away from home, it was our founder who the grandparents immediately telephoned. He gathered his friends, searched the crime-infested Bronx streets, interviewed the missing child peers, identified a gang related club-house inside an abandoned building, found the child there hanging out inside a first floor vacant apt, and had her driven home and returned safely to her grandparents’ care.
One season during the Christmas holiday when 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.
IAR is now governed by a prestigious voluntary Board of Directors, plus a unique Board of Advisers, representing a broad array of professionals. From physicians, to attorneys, to scientist, music executives and just wonderful caring individuals with various skills and expertise, collectively working together. They help set organization policies and ultimately assure fiscal and program accountability to our community, clients and potential clients.
The Board of Directors meets a minimum of twice annually, however with on-going year-long communication via conferences and is charged with monitoring our program.
Our founder has experienced personal visits from rappers. Speaking engagements include Yale Law School, Harvard University and Columbia University. Our founder 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.
Our founder was invited to the signing of Governor’s new Legislation of the Rockefeller laws, along with DOCS Commissioner Brian Fisher, Jeffrion Aubry, NYS Assembly, Keith L.T. Wright and many others.