Brotherhood and Dreams: How Brandon Glasgow and Friends are Shaping New York’s Next Generations

In the heart of Brooklyn, where dreams are as diverse as the borough’s vibrant neighborhoods, Brandon Glasgow has been quietly weaving a narrative of hope, empowerment, and transformation. His journey from a Brooklyn native, constantly on the move due to his mother’s nursing career, to the founder of Scholar and a Dream, encapsulates the essence of resilience and the relentless pursuit of making a difference.

Brandon’s story is not just about geographical movements across states or the academic and professional milestones he achieved, from Syracuse University to a successful career at Google. It’s about the journey inward, towards finding purpose and channeling personal and professional experiences into a cause that transcends individual achievement.

“Growing up, moving from state to state, I learned to adapt, to find my place in new environments. This experience, looking back, was preparing me for something bigger, something beyond just my own story,” Brandon reflects.

The inception of Scholar and a Dream, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing the lives of students of color through scholarship, career development, and mentorship, was serendipitous. It evolved from a simple desire among friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve differently, to a realization that they could channel their collective energy and resources into something far more impactful.

Brandon, reflecting on the origins of their nonprofit, emphasizes the significance of building this initiative with his male friends. “There’s something incredibly powerful about channeling our collective energies towards something so impactful. Each of us brought our unique strengths and perspectives to the table, but it was our shared vision for a better future for students of color that really drove us,” he says. This unity and sense of purpose among the founders underscore the importance of male camaraderie in fostering positive change within the community.

“I remember sitting on our couch, brainstorming names for our then-unnamed initiative. When ‘Scholar and a Dream’ was suggested, it just clicked, as it was a play on J. Cole’s song Dollar and Dream. It was perfect. It encapsulated everything we wanted to convey – the aspiration, the struggle, and the potential of the students we aimed to support,” Brandon shares with a smile.

The journey from throwing a successful New Year’s Eve party to setting up a formal nonprofit was filled with learning curves and moments of self-doubt. Yet, for Brandon and his team, the mission was clear. They were determined to bridge the gap between potential and opportunity for high school students of color in New York City.

“Our first scholarship giveaway was a pivotal moment. Standing on that stage, handing over the checks to those students, it hit me. This was just the beginning. We had tapped into something profound, something desperately needed,” Brandon recalls, the emotion palpable in his voice.

Under Brandon’s leadership, Scholar and a Dream has grown exponentially, both in scope and impact. From initial scholarships to comprehensive programming that includes workshops on human-centered design thinking, financial literacy, and goal setting, the organization is a testament to what can be achieved when passion meets purpose.

“We’re not just about giving away scholarships. We’re about building pathways, about igniting potential and guiding our scholars every step of the way. One of the most memorable moments for Brandon and his team came during a scholarship presentation. They had the opportunity to award a scholarship to a student named Sheik Afrin, who would go on to graduate college and start a career in finance. This moment was a poignant reminder of the impact of their work. “Seeing Sheik journey come full circle, from high school to college graduate, was incredibly rewarding. It was a tangible manifestation of our mission and a deeply emotional moment for all of us,” Brandon recalls.

This experience with Shaik was not just a milestone for the student but a defining moment for Brandon and his friends. It reinforced the importance of their work and the profound difference they were making in the lives of young people. “It was a validation of everything we had set out to do. It showed us the power of mentorship, support, and belief in someone’s potential. Shaik’s success story is a beacon of hope and a testament to the impact of Scholar and a Dream,” Brandon reflects with pride.

Brandon’s vision for Scholar and a Dream is expansive. With plans to launch a two-year career intensive program for high school juniors, the organization is poised to deepen its impact, ensuring students not only dream of a brighter future but also have the tools and support to make it a reality.

“The power of partnership, of community, cannot be overstated. We’ve seen firsthand how collaboration can amplify impact. As we look to the future, our focus is on strengthening these partnerships, on being a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change,” Brandon asserts, his gaze steady and determined.

Brandon Glasgow’s journey from a Brooklyn native to the founder of Scholar and a Dream is a narrative of transformation, not just for himself but for the countless students his organization has touched. It’s a reminder that within every dream lies the potential for change, and with the right support, every scholar can indeed turn their dreams into reality.

“Every student we help, every life we touch, it’s a step towards a more equitable, just, and inclusive future. And that’s what keeps us going, what fuels our passion. We’re not just helping students; we’re shaping the future, one scholar and one dream at a time,” Brandon concludes, his words a powerful testament to the enduring impact of Scholar and a Dream.

You can follow Brandon on instagram @bg.qlty & @scholarandadream. You can visit Scholar and a Dream to learn more and donate at https://www.scholarandadream.org/.

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