It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men – Frederick Douglass
Terry Burnside is a changed man who is on a mission to do God’s will. His story as a youth is very similar to the challenges youth face today. He states that, “The actions and decisions teenagers made back in the day were deemed more inane and thoughtless, but today, youth’s decisions and actions are based on disrespect and anger. As a community we must work together to ensure our youth have better structure in their lives. I have made mistakes, but I’ve learned it’s never too late to correct the wrongs you do. You have to focus on what is important, put God first and step out on faith. Once I realized that change starts within, I began the real journey of how to rehabilitate myself.”
Mr. Burnside’s journey of rehabilitation began as a teenager. His decisions and living the “street life” ultimately landed him in prison, taking his freedom off and on for a span of ten years. Eventually, those times in and out of jail made him realize that changes had to be made with his life and in order for him to do better he had to analyze every action he did which affected his family and friends but more importantly, himself. He eventually obtained his GED and shortly, thereafter, his progression and transition began. Terry worked beyond a GED, he enrolled in various classes to obtain other skills and trades, and a few were automotive technology, construction, and business management. These skills offered a degree and certifications which he diligently obtained.
Mr. Burnside is a certified mechanic, licensed construction business owner with contracts with the City of Peoria doing rehabs on homes as well as employing other contractors to work for his company, Burnside and Sons. He is also a Lead Removal Contractor in Peoria. As the President and Founder of the P-Town Car Club, Inc. with a 501c3 status, he hosts annual car shows at George Washington Carver Center. The annual car shows, geared for adults and children, are fun and entertaining. Not only will adults enjoy the car show, there are activities and talent contests provided for children. Awards and trophies are presented to the participants as well. Mr. Burnside is also the Governor of Iowa’s Grudge Inc., AADRC – African American Drag Racing Circuit, which allows him to travel all over the United States promoting the AADRC.
Mr. Burnside grew up on the South side in Peoria. He is a strong staple in the community for his diligence and efforts in bringing well-needed attention to many unwarranted issues plaguing Peoria, especially surrounding our youth. His activism is also acknowledged as a member and/or organizer of the Peoria Stand-Down Organization, Walk for Peace Campaigns and meeting with other various Peoria organizations and churches to establish better community relations or in some cases start relationships. On January 16, 2017, Mr. Burnside received the Drum Major Award for Community Support for his work throughout the city and particularly with Peoria Community Against Violence at the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service. He is also the new appointed Chairman of the Peoria Citizens against Violence (PCAV).
Mr. Burnside believes in the importance of getting a good education, having a solid support system, encouragement from others and creating and establishing positive outlets and things to do for youth. He feels these are vital components in providing essential tools and resources for families in general. He also believes that there is a need to remain consistent in creating and enhancing new programs to keep youth focused on their future and start working with children at a very early age. Enacting and engaging these things will separate negative activities and thought processes many youth struggle with. Although many of these resources are in place, our communities need to work effortlessly providing more of them. Today, youth in many communities are struggling and facing so many obstacles while trying to find their way in this world, but a great deal of opportunities are over shadowed by a lack of skills and focus to obtain them.
There are plenty of success stories surrounding our youth who have conquered peer pressure, gangs, and bullying. Terry Burnside is an example of how you are able to turn your life around and accomplish great deeds with your life. Community leaders, educators and parents should always be willing to share those stories.