Father’s Day is a Father’s WayTo Dream the Impossible Dream

If you look up the definition of what the word “Father” means you will find various meanings i.e.: A man who is the parent, a man acting as the parent, a man who is the ancestor, a man who is the founder, a man who is a leader, a man who is a teacher, a preacher, nurturer, or a man who is a Priest…. Happy Father’s Day to all who can claim any of these descriptions.



The first Father’s Day Darrell ever had was on Monday, February 5, 1996. It was the day that I found out that I was pregnant. When I came back from my doctor’s appointment, my elation could not be hidden so I had to tell someone!! Therefore, I told my Universal  Studio Creative co-worker, comrade, and confidant—Suzan Rude. She was the experienced one—my guru when it came to getting pregnant because she was already a mother to Matt and was also two months pregnant with Samantha. She was clever enough to tell me her secret of how to get pregnant—if you want more details than this, you will have to contact her directly!! So, I tried it and Darrell and I were successful too, or should I say blessed when we were graced with the news that there was a baby in the oven. After I told Suzan, she hugged me, quickly ran out my office, and came back with her husband Greg in tow and then she dropped a small raspberry on my desk and said with a sly grin: “ This is how big your baby is today!” We all laughed.


When I got home that night, I took Darrell to our favorite restaurant in Monrovia—The Derby. It was a very special place for us. Among other significant celebrations, Darrell had actually proposed to me in the dining hall about a year prior. So, when the waitress brought over his dessert and he noticed some paper on the plate, to his surprise he looked at me in awe when he realized it was a faint image of a embryo—from the ultrasound. He became overjoyed and was beside himself. Subsequently, a few months later after we found out that our baby was going to be a boy, Darrell wore his pride bigger on his chest. He was so proud, and oh so happy… He would have been happy either way if we were going to have a girl.


Eight short months later on September 13, 1996 Justin arrived and our dream to be parents came true. Darrell was officially a Father and his son Justin was born. It was such a proud moment when he saw the twinkle in Justin’s eye for the first time. Darrell was over come with emotion and was so elated. Maybe some of you knew that my UCLA Doctor was out of the country when I had to deliver Justin, so I went to Cedar Sinai hospital. In hindsight it was more than a blessing in disguise, because Soledad- my best friend from Convent of the Sacred Heart high school just happened to be the Neo-natal Physician on call. In fact, she was also pregnant with her daughter Shaylyn who was born just a mere week after Justin. As Soledad worked with the team of Doctors, she hands Justin over to Darrell and with a mischievous smile said: “Look Susie a white baby! Darrell was all caught up in the moment of delivery , looked shock and then cracked a smile because he knew Soledad had a sense of humor. You can only imagine the reactions from the other attendees in the delivery room because they had NO IDEAL that we personally knew Soledad—and I’m quite sure they were beside themselves to hear that come out of her mouth. As most people know, a lot of African American babies are born without their full pigmentation and their skin is pale in comparison to what it turns into a few days after birth.

Soledad, Susan, Darrell & Justin at the Baptism
Soledad, Susan, Darrell & Justin at the Baptism









Susan and Justin Eileen Stephens, Suzan and Sam
Susan and Justin Eileen Stephens, Suzan and Sam








MacKynzie, Shaylyn, Justin, Darrell
MacKynzie, Shaylyn, Justin, Darrell







Wedding Bells, Fun times with Justin and his god sisters
Wedding Bells, Fun times with Justin and his god sisters



Time flew by so quickly but as Justin’s Dad, Darrell was a great Father to him and was able to pack a lot of love and adventure in those few short years. They had trips together to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.




Darrell taught him how to use tools, to fix things instead of always calling a repairman because these were the things that Darrell’s Dad instilled in him. He taught Justin how to be a gentleman, how to respect girls, and how to take pride in all that he did. They were also together when the first racial slurs were hurled at them when they were too slow pulling out of a parking space in Arcadia, CA. That was the first time they had to have “The Talk “Darrell insisted that Justin get the full effect of the “haves and the have not’s” therefore

Darrell and his father Russell Carr
Darrell and his father Russell Carr

he wanted him to attend a public school (just like he did) for Elementary School. Darrell often told me: “ Justin needs to know what if feels like to be a black man in this world and to feel comfortable in his own skin.” What gifts he gave to Justin and to me.

In 16 short years Father Darrell (or Darnell as Justin sometimes called him) taught Justin a lot of things including how to:



  • IMG_9032kellyjuju jujuhardhar
    • Play ball
    • Stand tall
    • Build walls
  • Plant flowers
  • Climb towers
  • Live
  • Give
  • Paint and mix concrete for hours
  • Ride the subway
  • Pray
  • Not to stray
  • Sing a song
  • Call out when something is wrong
  • Sing falsetto
  • Work with metal
  • Comb his hair
  • Play fair
  • Be a leader
  • Put money in a meter
  • Take pictures
  • Install fixtures
  • Tie a tie
  • Always say hi
  • Drive a car
  • Be a star
  • Stand for what’s right
  • Be prepared if you have to fight
  • Smile for the camera
  • Help others
  • Love his mother




Even though Darrell’s physical time with Justin—his pride and joy was cut short, Justin will never be too far from his heart and thoughts. It was Darrell who came up with the slogan at Justin’s Celebration of Life when he coined the phrase “ Justin Carr Want’s World Peace.”

Watch this 5 minute clip to see how JCWWP got started… Keep in mind this short video was created and delivered to us 4 days after Justin’s service. Chad Michaels was working for the church that day doing the video for the live feed.  We did not know him at the time.   He was compelled to do this after learning who Justin was…



My niece Laureina did this on the UC Berkeley Campus




Justin’s Dreams will be realized because they are now Darrell’s goals. As Justin’s proud Father, Darrell will carry Justin’s message and show his love for him in so many other ways. Darrell will be that teacher, that guiding light for his students and for so many other kids who desperately need a Father figure. Since he was forced to take his Fatherhood to a different level and into a whole new realm,


Darrell will have Justin’s back and continue to spearhead Justin’s Dare 2 Dream program (that provides visual and performing arts and math tutoring to the underserved). His mission is to spread Justin’s message, and continue sharing his legacy…now this is his FATHER’S WAY as he lives THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM because EVERY DAY will be FATHER’s DAY for Darrell!!!!

Justin Made this Soap Box Derby Age 10



The Impossible Dream

By Joe Darion

To dream the impossible dream

To fight the unbeatable foe

To bear with unbearable sorrow

To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong

To love pure and chaste from afar

To try when your arms are too weary

To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest

To follow that star

No matter how hopeless

No matter how far

To fight for the right

Without question or pause

To be willing to march into Hell

For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true

To this glorious quest

That my heart will lie peaceful and calm

When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this

That one man, scorned and covered with scars

Still strove with his last ounce of courage

To reach the unreachable star




Susan (aka Justin’s Mom)


I got this  recent message from  a childhood/ family friend-Father Christopher La Rocca.  He and his siblings attended St. Emydius  with our family  and he graduated from St. Ignatius with my brothers.   JCWWP is paying it forward by helping one of his  village kids whose  name is also  “Justin”- get the  surgery he desperately  needs.  His message on  how (our) Justin’s spirit continues to live on across the globe sealed the deal on this Father’s Day.  Father Chris  is  now working as a Carmelite Missionary in Africa…

“Dear Susan, Again, the Holy Spirit is working through you…



Fr Christopher ( La Rocca ) OCD
Carmelite Missionary








JCWWP_Logo_with_Butterfly_II_copy copy


  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and touching tribute to Darrell. I pray that our Lord will be extravagant with His blessings and peace. Much love!

  2. Dear Susan,
    I’m struck by your deep love for one another and the world. The light your family emanates is blessed and beautiful.

  3. Susan, it sounds as if Darrell was as good a father as your own father was — and that is a very high bar indeed. Beautiful piece, and congrats on having such a fine son. That’s no accident.

  4. Wow!!! Don’t want to sound redundant but what a beautiful tribute to your husbanding and the amazing father of your child! I have told you before that your writing is so fluid and takes us with you on your journey! I love you Susan!

  5. Susan,
    Beautiful and moving. It seems to me that it takes incredible character to turn such a tragedy into something positive. What special parents you and Darrell are and what a special couple you are.

  6. Your words flow gracefully across the page, always giving us an intimate view to the inner world of Susan, Darrell and Justin. Thank you for sharing with us the beautiful love between all of you. Happy Father’s Day Darrell!!
    XoXo D

  7. Susan, your writings always move me to tears! What a beautiful tribute to Darrell! Justin was so lucky to have such loving parents who were always there to give him the love and guidance young people need these days. Darrell you are also very talented. I know you miss Justin, however , you will find a way to continue to help other youth which would make Justin very happy. Peace and love to you today and always.

  8. I am always amazed by your gift of writing. You have such an easy and loving way with words. I feel each one in my heart and I am grateful for your ability to share your stories, and your take on things. Thank you.

  9. Susan & Darrell,

    God has given you this Avenue to nature youth and continue being the Expectional Parents that your are. Darrell I am so Thankful that My daughter Nina is apart of the Justin Carr Wants World People Art Program. You both are blessing Us with your Love and Uplifting tributes to Justin! Susan You just amaze me everytime you share photos it touches my Soul and Speaks to me how important it is to be totally present for our children. Thank You and God Bless U Both with The Peace that surpasses all understanding!!!

  10. Susan and Rooney,
    Thinking of you both this Father’s Day. Thank for keeping Justin’s ideals in front of us. Sending our love to you today and everyday. Oka, Dona, Mako, and Rikio

  11. Susan,
    What an amazing Father’s Day tribute to your husband. You & Darrell raised an incredible young man. I am so happy that I got a chance to meet him and I will always remember his sweet voice singing at your Dad’s 80th birthday party. I truly admire Darrell’s resolve to continue Justin’s quest for world peace.
    Love & Blessings to you both,

    1. Shaun you witness our little man when he was only 10 years old. He had it in him since he was a baby and he could not help but express himself in all that he loved to do and we are glad we let him “BE”. xox Susan

  12. susan – as always, thank you for sharing your feelings on yet another difficult day in the calendar year.

    the video is priceless and should be shown far and wide.

    the photographs and memories of darrell and justin are wonderful to behold. and, they do have a future together, as all bereaved parents and their children do.

    love to your family. xxx pepper

    1. Pepper,
      The beat must go on. I know that a day does not go by that you think of your precious angel David. As we know each day is difficult to start off again without our babies. But somehow we do. Love you

  13. What a beautiful tribute to Darrell, Susan. You are both such an inspiration. The qualities of a great “father”, strength and gentleness; firmness and compassion; unconditional love; wisdom and humor…you and Darrell have it all and will be great parents to many …forever.

    1. I want to say something but I’m speechless. What a wonderful father and incredible son.
      You’re both LOVED.

    2. Elizabeth,
      As I read your kind words to Darrell, it was so thoughtful and hit the core of his being. He was touched. We much carry Justin’s torch for goodness and kindness all the days of our life. xox Susan

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