Jass Stewart moved to Boston from Dallas when he was 18 to attend college.

After graduate school, he moved to Brockton, bought a home, fell in love with the city, and raised his son here.

With his parents—and as the middle son—Jass grew up in the housing projects on the south side of Dallas, where violence and low expectations were the norm. But his life grew out of a sense of hope and hard work.

His mother was the first in her family to go to college. Her church paid the way, and she worked her entire adult life as a public school teacher.

Jass' father barely graduated from high school. He spent his whole life loading trucks at night, seven days a week. His union job paved the family's way into the middle class.

It is from his parents—watching them work hard to make ends meet—that Jass learned at a very young age about the values that keep our families and communities strong.

He learned that a belief in a dream takes more than wishful thinking; it takes vision, planning, and sacrifice. There will always be disappointments along the way; but you never give up.

Hope and hard work brought Jass to Boston University and to MIT, where he earned two degrees and a senior research fellowship.

Jass Stewart lives on the north side of Brockton. His son served in the U.S. military, and is now studying international business at Temple University in Japan.