BEHIND THE T.U.C.K PROJECT
Contrary to popular belief, true progress should not be measured by the number of points scored or trophies won. Instead, its measure should come from the perseverance and grit that one uses to dismantle the odds against them, and fight on when others cannot see the warrior within them. For Terrance “Tuck” Tucker, evening out the odds was more than a mission for himself, but for the youth he would one day commit to serving for the rest of his life.
Reared in Columbia, SC, Terrance grew up in the heart of an area that many would call, “the rough side of the city”. Always knowing that he and the youth from his neighborhood were more than a bad reflection of the zip code they lived in, he vowed early on to change the narrative. Growing up with a natural niche for athletics, Terrance breezed through his grade school years as an athlete, and later a quarterback for his high school. Like many young men charmed by sports and enjoying their youth, academics for Terrance took precedence over areas of his education. Unbeknownst to many, he was struggling in school and had a speech impediment that he hid. Even when he grew out of his insecurities and became more vocal, “coolness” allowed his weak areas to go unnoticed and ultimately unserved.
He vividly remembers being told by a guidance counselor he was not college material. Believing her words, he graduated from C.A Johnson High School and went straight into the workforce. While working at a local high school, he was approached by the principal who noticed Terrance’s punctuality and sharp work tactic. He inquired why Terrance was not in higher ed and working so hard at a young age. After listening to Terrance’s story and spending hours masterminding and strategizing how to get him into school, the two successfully enrolled Terrance at South Carolina State University. All it took was one adult who saw what others thought was invisible.
Terrance went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from South Carolina State University, graduated with a 3.9 GPA, and earned the award of Scholar of the Year. After graduating, he went on to Washington, D.C to work at the Department of Disability and Special Needs. While the career provided the professional fulfillment he needed, Terrance was pulled back home to his calling of helping more marginalized and at-risk youth at home. He returned to South Carolina and launched The T.U.C.K Project in 2017. He vowed to be the voice of affirmations in a world that roared with disbelief for the disadvantaged.
In the rare moments Terrance is not driving miles to connect with one of the teens he serves, you will find him at the gym, arguing with rivals of the Atlanta Falcons, or hanging out at The Groove Smoothie and Juice Bar where he serves as co-owner.
We envision less barriers to youth seeking positive adult relationships, more supportive services led by individuals that reflect the youth served, and an empowered society driven by young people committed to rebuilding and restructuring the systems built.