Barton Brooks, leading by example, is making up his own rules for saving the world.
While reading O Magazine, I came across an article about a man named Barton Brooks. Barton was a real estate broker in New York and also worked for some time in the fashion industry. Feeling unfulfilled in his current situation, he left his job and changed his life’s focus.
He decided that his new job would consist of traveling to different countries, finding communities in need, and lending a hand doing whatever was needed. Barton founded Global Colors, a one-man, non-profit organization that creates self-sustaining grassroots projects around the world through random acts of service. Thus far he has worked in Southeast Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina, Senegal, and Mozambique. Projects range from building homes, giving bikes and school supplies to kids, and helping orphanages.
It was no accident that I first learned about Barton Brooks through Oprah. I see them both as humanitarians that epitomize the power of belief; they are both living proof that one motivated person can improve the human condition.
I called Barton the day after he got back from Uganda for our phone interview. He answered the phone brightly, “Rachael?! Hi! How are you? It’s so great to finally connect with you.” His friendly and easy manner made me feel as though I already knew him. Despite the fact that he was exhausted from jetlag, he still spoke to me for over an hour about his cause with infectious enthusiasm.
inTravel: You started Global Colors four years ago, at the time, what was your goal?
Barton: I wanted to start a campaign where one person could travel anywhere in the world and help in some way. I just really wanted to connect the world one volunteer at a time. It may sound crazy, but I see it as part of my job to help people figure out how and where people can make a difference.
inTravel: No, that doesn’t sound crazy at all. Okay, so there’s Global Colors, the non-profit organization you founded, but what exactly is Guerrilla Aid and how are the two connected?
Barton: That’s actually a good question. Guerrilla Aid is the name of a division of Global Colors, but it’s also a term I use to describe the style of volunteerism I do. I encourage people to simply go somewhere, do something, and help in some way.
One of my goals is to start a Guerrilla Aid Movement in the US. I’ll be honest though, I don't always follow exact channels of protocol, but I’ve learned that if you’re creating your own projects, there isn’t nearly as much red tape involved.