InZone – the maker of men (+audio)

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InZone Founder Terrance Wallace. Image / Keren Cook
InZone Founder Terrance Wallace. Image / Keren Cook

Plans for a new InZone girls’ hostel for 2015 are underway, with a site now secured in Epsom.

Terence Wallace says he is busy fundraising for the hostel, interviewing girls and finding tutor support. The hostel will enable girls to live in-zone and attend the prestigious Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.

The InZone Education Foundation is a charitable trust established by Wallace. InZone actively supports the education of young Maori and Pacific Island secondary students.

Wallace has a background working with disadvantaged youth in the community. He began his work with alternative education secondary school-age students in his hometown, Chicago.

He is shaped by his own experiences, raised only by his mother. Drugs, alcohol and gang life could have been an option, but he says that “luckily my mum was there to guide me and say you will not go in that direction, so my only direction was to do positive things”.

Wallace arrived in Auckland, describing his journey as “a calling to New Zealand”. On arrival he says he “found New Zealand paradise and it looked like there were no problems”. But Wallace soon discovered his purpose, working with Maori and Pacific Island youth from disadvantaged communities.

Wallace studied Te Reo at Unitec and then travelled extensively throughout New Zealand. From there he formed a strategy for his “home away from home” – hostel inspiration.

Zoning laws meant that Wallace would need to become a shared guardian of the students who were to attend Auckland Grammar School. “Initially, parents struggled with that, now it’s quite different, they know me, and see the results from the other boys,” he says.

The crown, specifically the Ngati Whatua, own the site at 99 Owens Road, Epsom. In the project’s second year Wallace approached the Ngati Whatua with a proposal that requested a 30-year rent-free arrangement. The proposal was accepted and the site secured Wallace’s vision.

There is an agreement that five young people from Ngati Whatua are to be selected for InZone each year. In return, the Ngati Whatua sponsor one-third of the living costs for each of their students while at the hostel.

The InZone Hostel in Epsom.  Image / Keren Cook
The InZone Hostel.  Image / Keren Cook.

Wallace says: “The grassroots approach works best for underachieving youth. I believe no kid should be left behind and that when given the best support any kid can achieve.”

In 2013, Wallace won the Vodafone ‘World of Difference’ award. He adds that Vodafone has offered InZone “extraordinary support, professional development and fundraising opportunities”.

The success of InZone is seen in the results. Wallace says “many have gone on to University, entering medical and engineering degrees and two have signed professional rugby contracts”.

It’s not always plain-sailing. Wallace says “there is a lot of Kleenex, and a lot of tears. It’s more coaching than anything”.

On October 15, Vodafone launch a new ‘text to give’ campaign for InZone. For more information about InZone, click on over to www.inzoneeducation.org.nz