In the Beginning
Higher Ground started in Mr. Jansen's living room after he met his now wife, who had a 10 year old son at the time. Mr. Jansen began tutoring him, and soon Timmy began inviting his friends over to receive help with their homework because almost all of them were failing or behind in school especially in their reading and arithmetic levels.
In addition, they all had another thing in common.
- They all had their stories -- divorced parents, single moms, incarcerated family members, gangs, drug or alcohol abuse, poverty, abusive homes and a combination of other things.
- At the age of 10, they all felt defeated in life and considered their potential to be nothing.
- Academic success became even more challenging as the myriad of at-risk issues and their defeated attitude was prevalent.
This defeated attitude is prevalent in our southwest side of Tucson. The stories of the youth in his living room are the stories of majority of the youth in the South side of Tucson –
- Broken families
- Gang affiliations
- Crime environment
- Drug and substance abuse
- Incarcerated parents
- Lack of support.
In addition, we have failing schools in a state considered to be one of the worst in education.
Eventually, Mr. Jansen married Timothy’s mom and he became his son. At that time, he also decided to do something about the youth and our education issues. He talked to our local church, The Well Worship Center and Pistor Middle School and in doing so, Higher Ground was born.