My Relationship with Philanthropy

The fastest way to equity and preservation of culture will simply be, giving.

I started actively participating in Philanthropy in 2002; with my parents, it was probably far earlier than that, I just can’t remember. My first memory was with the Miami Science Musem, they had a program called Upward Bound. The Program was meant for underprivileged and underrepresented youth to get access to science and technology. There was a computer lab, all mac computers. There was also a technology graveyard where they would dispose of all the old tech. I loved that place. I would fix up the old computers and sell them on eBay.

We used to volunteer to do tours of the Museums new exhibitions. I eventually started teaching the technology class in the computer lab. We’d do beach cleanups and take camping trips. It was a great experience. This was one of the places that my brother and I flourished.

I went to Maritime & Science Technology (MAST) Academy and my brother Seraphin Bernard went to Design & Architecture Senior High (Dash).

We started our own organization in 2004, Young Minds Educational Program. I was a sophomore and my brother a senior in High School. We’d do after school programs in Art and Technology at local elementary and middle schools. One reason we got the opportunities that we did was that we had a portfolio. To apply to magnet schools you needed to showcase work. So our goal was to help others to do the same thing we did.

My brother was the creative one, he did well in expressing himself. So won everything from the Silver Knight by the Miami Herald and Miami Dolphin’s Quarter Back award and then he was off to Pratt Institute in New York.

The last thing we worked on was a project Youth Global Voice — we wanted this to be a crowdfunding platform for students who want to raise funds for projects that they think would be meaningful. See, we got lucky to be part of programs that enabled us to use their resources. The idea here is to give students and platforms to express themselves and create, simply do.

My brother went to South Africa on a trip with an international studies organization — just after graduating college. He was mentoring some students, as they walked on the shores a rip tide swept him into the water.

After losing my brother, I tried to keep up some of the things we used to do together but for the most part, a lot fell by the waist side. Somehow, since then my dad kept the organization “live.” Probably for this day of inspiration.

I moved overseas for business and while away I couldn’t (didn’t)pursue the philanthropy work but now, being back in the states between LA and Miami — I feel a sense of responsibility to carry a legacy of philanthropy. My brother believed that we had this responsibility to society as participants. I believe the same thing.

We’ll be pursuing 3 initiatives for the rest of 2020.

  • Communication Skills
  • Engagement
  • Voting

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