Michael Daniels


Michael Daniels developed the highly effective and research-supported "I have, I will, I see” approach to character development through his own early life experiences.  Michael grew up in the inner city of Grand Rapids, attended the public schools, and learned firsthand how challenging school, work and life can be. Michael tragically lost his mother due to domestic violence when he was five.

He was raised by his grandmother and had limited exposure to anyone in a professional career.  He saw black people as only bag boys in the grocery store or hustlers on TV, and this shaped how he viewed himself. Like many youth today, Michael struggled in school, failing the third grade and never making positive decisions toward a career. In seventh grade, Michael ran away to live with his father. He experienced bullying throughout his high school years. A short time later, he suffered another tragic loss when his brother was shot and killed in an incident involving gang violence.

 In his twenties, Michael worked factory jobs. He surrounded himself with a group of positive people who taught him to apply strong character skills to his own life. Ultimately, a friend, who was directing Cascade Engineering's nationally-recognized Welfare-to-Career program asked Michael to help him launch a youth-support program called "Progressions." In time, Michael was given the opportunity to volunteer and teach Progressions’ courses.

 It quickly became clear that Michael had a calling to connect with, encourage, and inspire kids. He taught them to apply the character skills we now know to be so fundamental to success in school, in the workplace, and in the community.

 Drawing on his natural ability to connect with others and build highly effective teams, Michael stepped into the role of Executive Director of Progressions and has led the program in this capacity for more than fifteen years.