Last Updated on August 29, 2023 by BVN
Amidst the vibrant celebration of Black Business Week, the spotlight shines on an organization that has been making profound strides in shaping young minds and empowering communities. BVN had the privilege of conversing with Terrance L. Stone, Founder and CEO of Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, an individual whose journey from personal struggles to remarkable accomplishments has touched the lives of over 150,000 at-risk youth.
Stone’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and a burning desire to make a difference. His own experiences as an at-risk youth ignited a passion to guide others away from the pitfalls that once surrounded him. His organization, Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy, serves as a beacon of hope, helping young individuals recognize their inherent worth and potential.
“I wanted to get young people to understand that it doesn’t matter the community or the environment that you grow up in, it doesn’t matter the family that had the pleasure of raising you in that environment,” Stone shared passionately. “They can do and be whatever they want to do to be in life.”
With a commitment to education, empowerment, and engagement, Young Visionaries has become a cornerstone of support for youth across San Bernardino County. Spanning over 35 campuses in areas including San Bernardino, Rialto, and the High Desert, the organization’s influence extends to juvenile halls, providing critical mentorship and guidance.
The recognition and accolades Mr. Stone has received are a testament to his unwavering dedication. From being named “Man of the Year” multiple times to being recognized by the Rosa Parks Foundation and enshrined on their Wall of Tolerance, Terrance Stone’s commitment has not gone unnoticed.
“We have a plethora of different success stories,” Stone said. “We also go into the juvenile facilities, working with the kids, doing gang intervention, and workforce development programs in there for them.”
At the heart of Young Visionaries’ success lies their innovative programs, each designed to address specific needs of at-risk youth. Among these is the impactful *”Man Mob” initiative, which sees male mentors decked out in suits and ties welcoming students at the start of the school day. This initiative, now embraced across various school districts, offers young Black boys the opportunity to see positive role models who inspire them to strive for greatness.
The pandemic’s impact on Black-led businesses and non profits has been undeniable, yet Young Visionaries found ways to not only persevere but thrive. Terrance Stone’s strategic pivot towards community engagement became a driving force in the organization’s growth during the pandemic.
“We were able to pivot. We worked really hard on community outreach and engagement,” Stone revealed. “Events such as Pull Up and Pick Up… The lines were just wrapped around the corner. We started getting attention because we were using social media to keep people informed and sponsors stepped in to fund our efforts.”
As we reflect on Black Business Week and the celebration of Black excellence, Terrance Stone’s words echo with wisdom and urgency. He emphasizes the importance of Black success stories being woven into the fabric of communities.
“One of my mentors is Reggie Webb, of Webb Family Enterprises. He’d always say that you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. We’re giving our young people Black excellence targets and success targets. Our kids have to see success. So that we can hit the target,” Stone urges.
Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy stands as a testament to the power of investing in the potential of young minds. Through education, empowerment, and engagement, this organization is shaping a brighter future for generations to come. As we navigate the challenges of our times, let us draw inspiration from Terrance Stone and his tireless commitment to creating better, safer communities through the upliftment of our youth.