SPEAKERS | Barton Brooks 2011

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BARTON BROOKS

Three words best describe Barton Brooks’ work and amazing story………Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

Barton’s remarkable story begins near the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where a chance encounter with a half dozen orphaned kids opened a new chapter for many, many lives. Back home, finding no avenues for sending help, Barton took matters into his own hands and established a grass roots non profit volunteer organization, Global Colors. He funded it through the sale of his prized possession, a Shelby Cobra sports car that he and his brother built completely by hand. Within six months, he teamed with UCLA and returned to that jungle orphanage with school supplies, medicine, soccer balls, and tons of hope.

The resounding success of that personal gesture snowballed into the development of “Guerilla Aid” - a distinctive, self-starting style of individual volunteerism. Further recruitment, volunteer training, and other missions quickly followed. Barton carefully researches and designs each project to have the greatest impact for a community in need. His goal is simple, to establish grass roots, self-sustaining industries which empower the powerless, and create new opportunity for the poor. For example: he’s taken 100 cows to widows of the Maasai in Kenya; he purchased boats for Burmese refugees that provide vital supply lines for goods and medications; and he helped create vegetable gardens to feed AIDS patients at a hospital in Senegal– among many others. The moving stories of al his projects are detailed on www.globalcolors.org.

The vast impact of his work has not gone unnoticed. The United Nations invited Barton to attend a round table discussion with First Lady Laura Bush regarding the Burmese refugee crisis. He made such an impression that the First Lady contacted him to help plan her upcoming trip to Africa. In 2007, Barton greeted Mrs. Bush in Senegal at that same vegetable garden he helped create. The First Lady’s visit to that hospital helped to remove the stigma many Senegalese had towards those who are HIV positive.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck in March, while Barton was on a mission to improve life for 6,000 Batwa pygmies in Uganda. Three weeks into an ambitious poultry and garden project, a speeding truck broadsided Barton on his motorcycle. He was left for dead on the side of a dirt road, bleeding from multiple, life-threatening injuries: a fractured skull, a compound left femur fracture, a torn knee, and a broken arm and shoulder. Hours later, a good Samaritan loaded his body in his small car and drove two hours to a local clinic. Stabilized, he was transferred to a hospital in Kampala, and subsequently airlifted to the US. He continues to undergo numerous surgeries and painful rehabilitations.

Despite his horrendous accident, Barton’s commitment to those in need remains unwavering. While still convalescing after yet another round of surgeries, he is committed to returning to Uganda not only to continue his work with the Batwa, but also to figure out where to continue helping in 2011

Through his organization, Global Colors, Barton trains volunteers to implement personal missions creating self sustainable relief to communities in need.
Gentlemen’s Quarterly magazine asked readers to nominate an agent of change striving for the betterment of society through charitable work, volunteerism, and/or community involvement – someone who is working hard to make this a better world.  Barton Brooks was one of five finalists for Better Men Better World Search 2009.
Barton is in Houston as part of the Brilliant Lecture Series where he is speaking to 2,000 students in 4 schools including Memorial Middle School, Westchester Academy, Northbrook Middle School and Spring Woods.
To schedule an interview contact Brilliant Lecture Series Founding Director Scott Brogan at 713-974-1335 [office] or 713-249-1821 [cell] or email: scottbrogan@brilliantlectures.org.