Aug. 26, 2007, 11:31AM
Spring Branch resident aims to expand young minds
Lecture series exposes youth to big-name role models
By FLORI MEEKS
Scott Brogan knows that when it comes to inspiring kids, it's all about the source.
Youths who tune out a parent's words of wisdom often pay more attention to another adult, especially one they respect.
Brogan decided to give area kids a chance to hear from serious attention-getters. During the last year, his nonprofit organization, Brilliant Lecture Series, 1726 Augusta Drive, has hosted local presentations by Queen Noor of Jordan, actor and director Sidney Poitier and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
All of them were able to share the challenges they've overcome before achieving success.
"I always want the message to be, I came from this; you see me doing this; and this is what I'm doing with it," Brogan said. "Take your dreams and go make a difference."
In November, the organization will present performer and author Julie Andrews.
"She doesn't speak so much to the public," Brogan said. "This will be about her life journey."
About the series
Brilliant Lecture Series works with partner organizations and schools throughout Greater Houston to find audience members who can benefit from these programs. It also has found sponsors who've paid for youths to attend.
Ticket prices for the events start at $15.
Now the organization is complementing its lecture series with a program that spotlights Houston heroes. Brill Kids Talks is intended to expose area youths to people making a difference close to home.
"We wanted to take it from this awe factor to a very grass-roots level," Brogan said.
So far, the program has presented representatives from KRIV-TV Fox 26 and Johnson Space Center.
The next presentation, set for Sept. 11, will bring participants to the Federal Reserve Bank, 1801 Allen Parkway. Students from throughout Houston will spend the morning learning about money from representatives of Capital One, Prudential and the Federal Reserve staff.
"The idea is to give young people the history of money and the importance of it," Brogan said. "By hosting the program on this day, we want to show how our country survived a big hit."
Capital One, the primary sponsor, regularly strives to reach out to moderate-to-low income families, said Laurie Vignaud, Capital One's director for community development.
When Brogan approached her about Brill Kids Talks, she liked the idea immediately.
"It aligned with our emphasis: financial education," Vignaud said. "We are creating opportunities for education and information that some of these children wouldn't have necessarily had."
Brogan, who lives in the Spring Branch area, was a political consultant before he established the Brilliant Lecture Series. He regularly found himself at fundraisers and special events talking to heads of state and prominent business people, philanthropists and entertainers.
"At the end of the day, those voices needed to be heard by people who weren't in the room," he said.
"Those people we try to serve are the ones who need the inspiration."
Now that the organization is in place, Brogan loves watching the responses audience members have to the speakers. In some cases, he's able to introduce them, one on one.
"The emotions displayed run the gamut," he said. "I'm merely a bridge and an observer of people meeting their hero, their legend."