Our work

GROW is beginning to take root

Our Pilots and Lessons Learned

Brownsville, Texas  — Women’s Bible study group, ages 50-83
Goal: To find out if GROW curriculum made sense to do in a small group setting.
Lessons Learned: The GROW program was doable!  Drama got skipped in this age group.

Birmingham, Alabama  — Adult literacy students
Goal: To find out if GROW worked with people who were primarily oral learners.
Lessons Learned: The interactive curriculum worked well for this group. They loved acting out the dramas, but dancing was stressful for the men.

Cape Town, South Africa  — Adolescents living in a township
Goal: To find out if GROW worked with adolescents in a South African after-school program.
Lessons Learned: GROW could be taught as an after-school program, and it was better received with a meal.

Rural Uganda  — Primary and secondary school students
Goal: To find out if GROW would be effective in primary school as well as secondary school in a Ugandan setting.
Lessons Learned: GROW was received well in both settings.

Houston, Texas  — Adolescents
Goal: To find out if GROW would work well with adolescents in the United States in a low-income housing complex.
Lessons Learned: GROW could be taught as a weekend club in an apartment community. It helped to have both a male and female leader for role models.

Lusaka, Zambia  — Adolescents
Goal: To find out if GROW was a good cultural fit for adolescents in a community school in a Zambian setting.
Lessons Learned: GROW was a good cultural fit in Zambia. It was better to teach it in the local language or simplified English. 

First Formal Research Project: Zambia, Africa

Lusaka, Zambia
Goal: To find out if a GROW curriculum would raise resilience, hope, and character strengths at the same time that it lowered alcohol and substance use.
Lessons Learned: We found that GROW raised hope and resilience and at the same time lowered alcohol use.

See the section below for more information on the Zambia Project.


Grafted Together: Teaming Up Internationally for Our First Global Research Project
Zambia is a gorgeous country in the Sahara that is famous for its extraordinary wildlife and magnificent Victoria Falls. At the same time, it is a country that has faced a history of challenges. A large portion of the adult population has been lost to the HIV epidemic, with 44% of the current population under 15 years of age.

Expanded Church Response of Zambia (ECR) is an organization that cares for 100,000 vulnerable children and orphans in this country. In 2015, ECR’s executive director Troy Lewis approached the GROW research team to find out how ECR might implement the program with their children. We were eager to share the curriculum with ECR, and we also invited them to partner with us in research to test GROW’s positive measurable impact on the participants.

ECR agreed to participate in the research, and together we identified goals to study resilience, hope, grit, gratitude and alcohol use. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, we began preparing for implementation in Lusaka, Zambia. We first collaborated with school administrators and local leaders and asked for feedback to adapt the program to Zambian culture. In their feedback, they affirmed that the design was a good cultural fit.  They also welcomed additional spiritual and emotional character training for their students One specific Zambian leader, Lameck Kasanga, accepted an invitation to become our master trainer and project administrator. With Lameck’s assistance, we conducted a three-week pilot project in a small community school with 15 students to verify that the program was age-appropriate.

We wondered… would we see a significant change?
Zambia Team
It takes a village...

Having polished our curriculum and tailored it to Zambian culture, we trained 45 Zambian men and women who all met our strong leadership requirements for serving with GROW. They were local school teachers, pastors and caregivers. All were exceptional role models for character, loved children, loved having fun, had a deep personal relationship with God and a clean sexual history in working with children. Out of those trained, we selected 30 local GROW leaders, approximately half of whom were men and the other half women. We provided weekly group coaching sessions for all the leaders and created a WhatsApp communication list for ongoing updates and encouragement.

Dana McDaniel Seale
James Paul Seale
Founders and Partners
The John Templeton Foundation 
The Expanded Church Response (ECR) of Zambia
On Track Ministries 
Boston Children’s Hospital 
Harvard University Medical School
AIRO Healthcare Inc. 
Navicent Health
Grow Zambia Leadership Team
Lameck Kasanga
Master of Trainers and
GROW Project Administrator
Bernadette Boone
Master of Trainers
Kennedy M. Jere 
Josephine Banda 
Priscilla Mukoka 
Sibong’ile Banda 
Ruth Banda 
Annie Mwanza 
Charity Mulenga 
Kaonga William 
Aaron Lukwanda 
Rosemary Tembo 
Rabecca Mkandawire 
Pythias Sakanya 
Hildah Busiku 
Lizyborn Chaambwa 
Andrew Lungu 
Lisa Dandawa
Cliff Phiri 

Clara Malenga 
Gabriel Chileshe 
Patrick Mwenya 
Noah Mulanga 
Stear Mafwafwa 
Nina Phiri 
Alice Mutipula 
Wilson Kawina 
Hildah Ngoma 
Susan Makasa 
Bibian Shalai 
Lazarous Mulanga 
Floyd Chanda 
Jane Kalota 
Godfrey Daka 
Abigail Akatama
Sion K. Harris
Ph.D. Boston Children’s Hospital, USA
J. Paul Seale
M.D. Navicent Health, USA
Dana M. Seale
M.A.P.P. Mercer University, USA
Reverend Troy Lewis
Th.M., Executive Director Expanded Church Response, Zambia
Yvonne Pande
Deputy Director Expanded Church Response, Zambia
Wilfred Manda
Data Analyst Expanded Church Response, Zambia
Erin Gibson
M.P.H. Boston Children’s Hospital, USA
Jordan Levinson
B.A. Boston Children’s Hospital, USA
Beverly Sansom
Kristin Hadfield
Ph.D. Queen Mary’s Univ. of London, England
Robert Emmons
Ph.D. University of California Davis, USA
Robert McGrath
Ph.D. Farleigh Dickinson University, USA
Amita Nawathe
M.D. Navicent Health, USA
Creative and Design Team
Cassie Nalls 
Karelyn Martinez 
Cory Anna Jones
Brittany Buongiorno 
Ted Willis 
Blake Goldberg 
Arvind Shrihari 
Joseph Reiff


"I love all the character strengths.  My favorite is humility. I like the story of Mary humbling herself before God.  That story told me that we should humble ourselves before the almighty God.  My favorite moments in class are acting out the story and the meditation."
Dorica Phiri
6th Grade


Words from our students or instructors
"It has been awesome seeing the children manifesting into what God has purposed them to be… Anything great in life is rarely the work of one person."
Charity Mulenga
GROW leader


"I’ve seen massive changes, now they love each other, share, show respect toward parents and teachers and are honest with each other."
School Administrator
GROW Focus Group