Education: BA in Economics, Harvard University
Current position: Owner & Vice-President, NeuEdge LLC
With an Ivy League education in hand, Neal Stephens is back home in Simpson County to raise awareness about the Dore Program, a year-long series of drug-free cognitive development exercises that have helped everyone from elementary students to 80-year-olds.
Founded in England in 1999 by Wynford Dore, the program endured early criticisms from its British competitors and was temporarily derailed by an embezzlement scheme and subsequent liquidation. Stephens says Dore was fortunately renovated in 2009 and that he and his family have since been a part of efforts to introduce it in the U.S.
Designed by a team of researchers, scientists and therapists, Dore targets children and adults dealing with autism, ADHD, Asperger syndrome and dyspraxia. “I went through the Dore program in high school,” Stephens says. “I saw improvement when I was playing basketball (and in my) depth perception, reaction, rhythm and balance.” Stephens’ ACT reading scores also saw improvement.
“We believe the cerebellum is underdeveloped and it’s the root cause of learning and attention disorders,” Stephens says. To mentally fuel patients, Dore incorporates exercises ranging from posture to vision.
Depending on the demand for the program, the Stephens family hopes to introduce it in North Mississippi and on the Gulf Coast. Opening doors for Dore allows Stephens to meet a steady stream of community leaders, physicians and teachers, a challenge the former president of the Harvard University Mississippi Club handles with ease. “Its very motivating for me to work harder to get this program to as many people that need it,” Stephens says.
In his spare time, Stephens stays busy at First Baptist Church of Jackson, the Jackson Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Mississippi Parent Training Institute and the Economic Development Board for Simpson County. He enjoys running marathons and triathlons, playing tennis and exploring new restaurants and local attractions.
Mississippi’s best kept secret: “The boiled peanuts”
Must-have Mississippi food: Letha’s BBQ in Hattiesburg
Favorite Hangout: Fondren
Favorite TV Show: “Lost”
Favorite Movie: “The Others”
Favorite Band: Josh Turner
Last book read: “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson
First job ever: Office worker for Yates Construction
Best role model: My mom, Angela Stephens