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Life in the Spotlight

A Valpo Life In the Spotlight: Valerie Groth


Valerie Groth has been making a difference in people’s lives for most of hers. Originally from Valparaiso, she is currently making her mark in Chicago. Groth believes in making the impossible possible and strives to achieve her dream. Once a therapist and social worker, Groth is now an active coach, speaker and author.

“Coaching is about getting people to the next level. It’s about getting people more fulfillment in their life,” said Groth. “As a social worker, I went in to work wanting to make a difference. I realized the system is not set up to help kids succeed. A lot of them aren’t going to make it without the right resources.”

Groth wrote a book titled The Power of the Possible: The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman’s Revolution to Fix It. It stems from what Groth experienced working as a social worker in Chicago’s schools.

“I quit my job to go after helping these kids. The book is about what it was like working in that world. It talks about the kids and their families and the teachers that work with them,” said Groth.

Groth is passionate about helping kids, especially about giving them the proper resources to succeed. She is the founder of Ryan Banks Academy, which will open its doors to middle and high school students this fall. It will transform education, as Chicago’s first urban boarding school.

“It’s named after a former student of mine who was lost to gun violence when he was just 12,” said Groth. “The book talks about his story and kids like Ryan, and what is happening in Chicago with inequality.”

Groth said she always had a calling to be innovative and to be an entrepreneur.

“I always loved the idea of creating something from nothing,” said Groth. “I always had that itch and that passion. Everyone I knew worked in the 9 to 5 world, so I didn’t know how to pursue it. College led me to social work and I realized that was my calling. I had a passion to give back and make a difference and to help people live their best lives. What I do now allows me to work in the service world and to be an entrepreneur at the same time.”

Groth finds that it’s her clients and the positive transformations she sees in them that makes her career feel so rewarding.

“I have such an honor working with people who came to me wanting more in their lives. Seeing them do amazing things in this world is incredibly rewarding,” said Groth. “As a speaker, I do that on a bigger scale. I bring the principles I have learned and address them to a bigger audience.”

Groth dedicates much of her time into helping the youth of Chicago. Her mission is inspired by her students to create a safe academic environment.

“The bulk of what I do is for non-profit and building Ryan Banks Academy. It’s incredibly challenging and it is an uphill battle. It’s also an exciting mission. It’s seeing something come from nothing and to see how far we have come, is amazing. I love that piece around it. We are getting closer and closer to completing the puzzle,” said Groth.

Every day is different for Groth. She faces new challenges, but the rewards always outweigh the obstacles. She lives by her mission of living for fulfillment. She wants to stress that the life you want will be yours.

“No matter how stuck you feel, you still have choices. You still have power. You still have the ability to improve your life. And, you’re worth it!.”

You can order The Power of the Possible: The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman’s Revolution to Fix It on Amazon as well as support Ryan Banks Academy at their website.

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