Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 Return

Brandon Serna: A Man with a Golden Heart, by P. Jean-Baptiste

Brandon Serna who goes by the surname BC was raised in Denver Colorado. He grew up in a basic middle class family by his hardworking and loving parents. He excelled in sports and enjoyed the outdoors. He planned to pursue a career in Physical education to become a personal trainer and coach; however all of this changed after BC took a trip abroad. BC discovered the vast need for philanthropic work and never looked back.
Black Impact Magazine had the privilege to interact with this young man to learn about his journey, aspirations and accomplishments. We will learn about his public service work abroad, how he discovered a hidden gift that was fueled by his passion of working on meaningful projects abroad, and how he incorporated film-making and music as a way to remain connected and share with the rest of the world the moments that he cherished and thought would be great teaching tools for others.

At 19 years old you travelled to the Philippines; you mentioned that this trip changed your life. Can you elaborate on the reason for the trip and how it impacted your life?

My very first trip was to the Philippines. I was on my own, working with local organizations to plan trips for local students. I lived in the slums on a tiny bed supported by cardboard. My host mom had four kids, she gave up her bed to go sleep with them. She said she knew her kids might not get to see the world, therefore, she wanted to bring a piece of the world to them. So much radical love and kindness from people who had very little to give. This graceful and selfless gesture shifted my perspective on the world.

Why did you choose the youth development sector?

I have an immense hope in the youth around the world. I motivate them to seek more from life, to create goals and make plans that will lead to the helping others around me way sooner. I've seen myself grow and change in big ways throughout my journey. I have learned patience, humility, kindness, selflessness, and work ethics. I’m aware of what it takes for youth to get lost and to be confused and also how simple structures such as an after school program can steer them learning and becoming responsible young adults.

How did you develop the passion for making films?

While traveling I felt very blessed to be able to see and meet the people and places I was visiting, I wanted to share my trips in detail with friends and family back home, I started to film special moments on every trip. Developing the passion for making film was self-taught, I learned along the way by trial and error. One person after the next would give me compliments on the productions, I realized that what I filmed was genuine and natural and it became my goal to create more short productions.

You travelled to different parts of the world- Asia, Europe, and Mexico; how did you go about selecting countries to visit?

I worked abroad for four years. I was in a different country every year; I was working for study abroad programs and would be selected for a different destination each semester. I refrained from having pre-conceived notions and preferences, I was thankful for whatever came my way and knew each one was a special opportunity to learn and be a resource.

Why did you decide to stop your travels and your work abroad to focus on your local community?

After four years, I knew I needed another challenge so I asked myself what I thought was the greatest need in the world and what did I gain so far from my experiences abroad. I thought the greatest needs were orphanages in Asia and the need for safer water in Africa. After much time spent reflecting and meditating on the idea, it hit me that America has the greatest potential to help the world and realized the energy, passion, and opportunity the youth have to make a huge difference. I moved back with the intention to work with high school youth; my hope is that I will empower the youth with knowledge and they will collectively embody the vision of a better world and bring their skills and resources to bring clean water, create infrastructure where needed, and we will be better equipped to tackle issues here at home and abroad.

In one of your Instagram post you have mentioned one's "reality is made up of his intention and attention..," can you elaborate on that?
I believe we can only control one thing in this entire world- that is our intention and attention to what surrounds us and what we do with our time; waking up in the morning needs to be clear to us because for all other things will revolve around that vision and mission we give ourselves. What is our intention with every conversation and person we encounter and what’s our attention on what’s really being done about it. I have no clue what this next year has in store for me and for a while was even living out of my car and not know where my next paycheck was going to come from, but I knew the vision I had for myself and what I was fighting for.

How can others support and contribute to the work that you are doing?

I have made meaningful connections within the communities I have served. This journey continues to bring me closer to the challenges and the people who face them daily; I have always wished I could meet and hang out with them all over the globe. I'd ask everyone to continue to follow the journey on Instagram and Facebook. Every once in a while I'll ask for donations as small as $5.00 or harmonics to give to kids on my trips or to purchase medical supplies or sports supplies to give away. Others may feel more generous and donate more, there is a "donate" button on my website that can make contributing easier. The donations in majority go towards mentoring opportunities/experiences with my inner city kids, videos I make for non-profits, or helping cover a chance to speak at a high school. The most important way people can help is by loving others well and going above and beyond to make another person’s life a little bit better.

In conclusion what would you like to add?
I would like to extend a huge thank you for sharing some of my journey with your friends. I'm always open to sharing and listening to feedback and stories that my followers and viewers may want to share. Additionally, my hope is to bring people on trips with me, so keep an eye out for those projects! Thank you all so much and keep loving radically!

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