Brendan Brown interned for two summers as a college student at Community Partners. A few days ago, the Peace Corps offered him one of its coveted slots. Starting next February, Latin America will receive into her teaching arms a young man destined to distinguish himself through a public life well led.
Brendan would be the first to tell you that he's enjoyed a life of privilege. A loving family, a fine education, world travel, strong civic values. Because he recognizes the opportunities afforded to him, Brendan feels it is his duty "to see the range of what happens to people in the world so I can have a broader perspective on life than the one I grew up with."
His family taught him from a very young age the values of service and generosity to others. Both on his own and alongside his brother and sister and close friends, he's made a quest of spending intimate and sustained periods of time with people in disadvantaged communities quite distant economically and socially from his own background and upbringing. His self-education has taken him one summer on a service project through a respected international humanitarian agency to Kenya. The next summer found him in Guatemala, then Peru and, last summer, Ghana. In each place, his grassroots experiences have helped him learn to greet the world with awe and humility, a critical intelligence and a concerned and caring heart.
Brendan has held off making grand career decisions. The Peace Corps is a big enough step for now. He may decide he needs a law degree, an MBA or a graduate degree in diplomacy to strengthen his journey. What's emerging, however, is the example of a young man who has used both the time and the flexibility that privilege granted him to prepare for a life that he and others likely will judge decades hence in the metrics of human good realized at significant scale.
We benefited early from Brendan's great gifts. We look forward to what lies ahead. Democracy and civil society should always be so lucky to have legions of this kind of kid taking the future's reins.