BARRINGTON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — A house full of nearly a dozen rambunctious teenage boys is a tall order for any parent.
But as CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Sunday night, Terrance Wallace is happily taking on the enormous responsibility – becoming a role model and father figure, and a History Maker.READ MORE: Woman, 2 Children In Hospital After Building Fire In Homan Square
Even on a frigid February afternoon, the boys whom Wallace took in relish the outdoors – and all it offers.
“I’m feeling very confident and positive about the future here in the Hills,” Wallace said.
Wallace brought 10 African-American boys from at-risk Chicago neighborhoods to Barrington Hills. They live together in one big house, in the result of efforts by Wallace and his group, the InZone Project.
“The pathway to get here, it’s been worth it,” Wallace said. “A transformational experience for each of the boys, both now and in the future, is going to add so much value to their life.”
Wallace founded InZone to give the boys a chance to live in safe suburban areas with good schools.
“I began to look at the pain and the situations that our kids here in Chicago were experiencing, and decided, you know what? I know that that hurts, but I have to do this for Black and Brown kids in Chicago,” Wallace said in explaining the mission of the project.
Wallace has the support of the boys’ parents, who have given him legal guardianship.
James Lawson first found it hard to believe he would live here.READ MORE: Cook County Sheriff's Officer Fires Shots During Attempted Traffic Stop: Police
“That I was going to be living in the house like this – I didn’t think it was real, so I didn’t possibly take it seriously,” Lawson said.
Still, there have been bumps along the way. Some in the community raised questions about zoning for the house, and made racist comments. But when COVID-19 hit the family and a call went out to the community for food, the community stepped up.
“So they said, ‘Can anyone make a meal on Wednesday night?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’d love to cook,’” said Lori Mazzenga.
Lori and Joe Mazzenga were among the neighbors who responded. Now they have dinner – and lots of conversation – with the boys every week.
“I’m getting out of it the opportunity to listen and learn, and build the relationships so that we can have open conversations,” Joe Mazzenga said.
“At our table, it’s an opportunity for me to set an atmosphere where we continue to become bilingual and cultured,” Wallace said.
And with the fruition of his efforts, Wallace’s InZone vision has come to life.
Wallace first started InZone in New Zealand, but felt strongly there was a need for such a program in his native Chicago – and he returned home.MORE NEWS: Man Shot And Killed In Fuller Park
InZone is always looking for donations. you can contribute on their website.