It’s a dream come true for Jansen Azarias, founder of Higher Ground A Resource Center–our newest investee. Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, the renowned researcher who coined the term grit, was introduced to Jansen through and SVP partner. She told him she wants to learn more from the work he is doing at Higher Ground. Dr. Angela Duckworth first saw grit at work when she was working as a math teacher in New York City public schools. The successful students weren’t necessarily the most gifted, but were those with the most grit. Higher Ground also embodies the principles of grit–“passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” The students at Higher Ground practice and embody grit so they will graduate from school and achieve their goals, despite difficult circumstances.
Jansen learned about Dr. Duckworth’s research on grit about five years ago. He came across it when he was researching effective ways to impact youth and improve his programming. He says his program has always integrated grit since it’s inception 10 years ago due to his culture and strong background in martial arts. However, they did not have any science to back their methods back then. “We always just joked that all we were doing is teaching our kids the culture I was raised in which has a lot of self-control and emphasis on not quitting. We then decided to use the research as it fit perfectly into what we were already doing except now, we had clearer goals and measurements.”
Jansen was invited to attend the educator’s conference organized by Dr. Duckworth where he met with her team to talk about his work at Higher Ground. Jansen also shares that they discussed some mutual projects they can work on together and ways they can improve their work. He tells us,”I just know that this opportunity is something that I thank God for and for the SVP connection that made this possible.”