How did it all begin? The Galapagos Islands
“The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts” (Charles Darwin). This quote by Charles Darwin demonstrates how, even during his travels to the Galapagos Islands, he had the self-awareness to be able to recognize the value of Emotional Intelligence (EI).
Gerard and Jose, during a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 2008, spent countless hours behind a 12-passenger boat that resembled the HMS Beagle, the boat that Charles Darwin once used when traveling the islands. Through long conversations in the Galapagos, Gerard and Jose had an epiphany that would broaden their career paths to new heights. Starting with a simple question, “What can we do to better support our communities?”, led to many interesting conversations. These conversations allowed Gerard and Jose to get to know one another better and to also learn that they had the same interests and purpose in life, which was to help others.
Soon after arriving home from the Galapagos Islands, Jose and Gerard began to develop a plan to carry out their dream. Their initial conversations were based on the question, what can we do to better support our communities? This first question led to many more questions; however, they were laser-focused on a particular goal, strengthening students’, teachers’, and parents' SEL skills.
Gerard and Jose spent countless hours, days, months, and years taking notes, filling up countless whiteboards, and taking a plethora of pictures of their meetings, which took place both in Jose’s garage and Gerard’s house. Jose and Gerard understood that to be able to accomplish the objectives that they had set for themselves, they had to be hyper-focused, and then learn the technique to be in flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ). The culmination of many years of work, dedication, and commitment led to the creation of Legacy Mastery Academy.
The premise of Legacy Mastery Academy is based on supporting the student, teacher, and parent population in strengthening their social and emotional learning (SEL) skills through the use of the Mindset Mastery SEL Curriculum and the Mindset Mastery SEL Institute. These two unique programs are extensively research-based and provide the latest neuro-linguistic and cognitive behavioral therapy principles to further enhance The Mindset Mastery SEL Curriculum and Institute. The foundation of these two programs encompasses CASEL’s five competencies: Self Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills. These five competencies, along with Legacy’s two competencies, Purpose and Beliefs, allow our program to have a broader range to reach and impact people's lives.
They have compiled over 160 lessons, over 200 handouts, and many more learning resources that focus on the core principles of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Additionally, The Mindset Mastery SEL Institute is a premier professional development program that focuses on enhancing the professional and personal lives of the participants. Legacy Mastery Academy has a partnership with Loyola Marymount University, allowing those participants to gain continuing education units (CEUs) for professional growth. Today the Academy continues to build new partnerships and expand its programs. They are excited to provide schools and school districts with the resources to succeed inside and outside the classroom.