Meet #MovementMaker Momentum Fund scholarship winner Kevin Bryant and Teens of Color Abroad

I love sharing the stories of #MovementMaker Momentum Fund scholarship winners and the organizations they serve as board members. And today I’ve got a great one for you.

But first, a little backstory: If you’re a regular reader here, you know that one of my labors of love recently was launching the Momentum Fund to help turn moments in others’ lives into movements. 

This fund receives a portion of the proceeds from sales of my book “Find Your Fire: Stories and Strategies to Inspire the Changemaker Inside You,” as well as my merchandise sales. One of the missions of the Momentum Fund is providing scholarships for first-time nonprofit board members who might not be able to afford the financial gift required to sit on a board. So far, five of these scholarships have been awarded.

You’ve already met one winner, Alicia Guerrero, who gives her talents to The Boardroom Project. And today I’m honored to introduce you to another one. Kevin Bryant is a consultant who serves on the Advisory Board of Teens of Color Abroad. This organization is taking on the racial disparity in study abroad experiences, a mission that Kevin knew he had to be a part of.

‘These Are Rock-Star Kids’

Kevin’s involvement in Teens of Color Abroad (TOCA) started because of his friendship with the founder, Lamar Shambley. Lamar has always had a passion for the Spanish language, but he couldn’t afford a study abroad trip in high school. He thought he would have to pass up another opportunity in college — a service trip to the Dominican Republic — but his advisor helped him make it happen. That first trip outside of the U.S. opened up the world to Lamar and changed his life. He decided to make it his mission to give more teens of color the chance to have international experiences.

As an avid international traveler himself, Kevin immediately understood why TOCA’s work is so important. “These are rock-star kids that just need an opportunity, he says.

So he joined the organization’s Advisory Board. Through his career with Edgility Consulting, Kevin has a strong network in the education and nonprofit worlds, and he’s helped TOCA make connections that advance their mission.

‘A Hunger for Travel, for Exploration, for Culture’

Being a #Firestarter means finding creative ways to deal with obstacles. Kevin has been impressed with how TOCA has done just that as the coronavirus pandemic has limited travel over the past couple of years. Through one of the organization’s programs, kids can learn Arabic online from Syrian refugees. Virtual fundraisers have featured musicians and DJs from around the world. It’s all about “creating these experiences for the kids that are still exposing them to new and different parts of the world,” Kevin says.

He looks ahead with excitement to when kids participating in TOCA can finally venture abroad and all the cultural immersion activities that are planned for them. “So at the end of two weeks, our hope is to just completely rock their world and create a hunger for travel, for exploration, for culture,” Kevin says.

He hopes being part of TOCA will set the stage for participants to have more international experiences both in college and beyond. “Because typically, the kids who have taken advantage of those travel abroad opportunities are not first-generation kids,” Kevin says. “It’s not something that’s on their radar.”

‘To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected’

Through both his work with Edgility and his service to TOCA, Kevin opens up opportunities for people from historically marginalized communities. The path he has taken with his life is inspired by his parents, both of whom serve as elected officials. He realizes “how fortunate I was to be born to the parents that I was,” when many of his peers “were never truly given a shot at the American dream,” he says. 

“When I graduated from high school, my mother made this poster with a lot of images. And at the top it said, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Kevin continues. “I’m just simply trying to carry forward what they did for me.”

Support the Movements

Teens of Color Abroad: Help give deserving teens the world by donating to Teens of Color Abroad.

#MovementMaker Momentum Fund: If you are ready to bring your energy and expertise to board service but face financial barriers to doing so, I invite you to apply for a Momentum Fund scholarship. I’d also love it if you could help me spread the word about the scholarships by sharing this article with someone you think would make an amazing board member.

The Momentum Fund also awards grants to organizations that educate diverse leaders, that teach women how to get involved in the political process or run for office, and that train the next generation of changemakers. Follow me on Instagram at @TerriBWilliams and @MovementMakerCollective or sign up for my newsletter to apply for a future award.

With Faith & Fortitude,

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