A pastor in Chicago, USA, implemented the project after his children’s homework inspired him to help teenagers.
This is Pastor Terrence Wallace of Chicago, who founded the InZone Project to help young people in the city’s poorest neighborhoods live a better life. He has now taken on the dual guardianship of several teens and brought them to his family in Wauconda, Illinois.
During 2011, he launched the project initially after his children’s homework inspired him to help teenagers in the city.
«My kids in New Zealand had to go home and write essays about violence and gangs in Chicago,» the pastor said.
«Those essays were basically about black people, men in particular in Chicago. When I went back to Chicago, I couldn’t look at what was going on and do nothing,» he added.
Teenagers in the City
With a much better education, home and opportunities in the suburbs than in the city, Terrence and his family believe in making life better for these kids. Today, the family lives in a large suburban home in a white community.
«Because of the stereotypes and negative connotations around black and brown children, there’s resistance from the townships, but not so much in the community, but when people get close to the children and get to know them, the stereotypes always disappear,» the pastor said.
The young people in the programme attend local schools and offer daily devotions. Their parents and legal guardians are constantly involved in the cause.
Although the primary funding came from Terrence, who owns a technology company, donations are in high demand for the project. However, they don’t allow donors who are dissatisfied with the religious aspect of the project.
«It all started because God spoke to me to do it. I had to turn down the funding because people wanted to not have the spiritual aspect, but I can’t do InZone without introducing the Christ element,» the pastor concluded.