“I’ve really enjoyed seeing how individuals past experiences with community have shaped their operating definition of community, and how our intentional dialogue can uncover certain values and beliefs that we hold.” – Brandon McClendon
A graduate of Earlham College in Richmond Indiana, Brandon McClendon received his B.A. in Arts, Activism, and Community Empowerment. He has a long history of community service through his work as an intern, counselor, and Youth Advisory Council member with Oasis Youth Opportunity Center in Nashville, TN. He has been currently working as a counselor and teaching assistant with the Summer Institute for the Gifted in Berkeley, CA where he supports special programming, provides one-on-one support, and helps increase academic performance in gifted students from various parts of the world. Brandon also served as a Bonner Congress Representative from 2014-2017 with the Bonner Scholar’s Program and was the student keynote speaker at the 2014 Bonner Summer Leadership Institute at Berry College. Brandon’s hobbies include dancing, running, and storytelling. He is a part of the Northside cohort, and is serving at A+ Schools.
Christin Adams: Tell me something you are learning about yourself through PULSE.
Brandon McClendon: I am learning that I have a deep sense of self-awareness and self knowledge. It allows to pinpoint what truly drives me and moves me to live my legacy. It also allows me to know what can destabilize me from living my legacy.
Christin: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?
Brandon: I’ve really enjoyed seeing how individuals past experiences with community have shaped their operating definition of community, and how our intentional dialogue can uncover certain values and beliefs that we hold.
Christin: Describe a typical day at your nonprofit partnership.
Brandon: A typical day in my nonprofit starts with me arriving at the office, checking in with my supervisor and printing off flyers and brochures for my site visits at high schools in Pittsburgh. I meet with students at various high schools to have dialogue about advocacy and community organizing, and the ways that we use media to capture our stories and experiences. In a typical week I’m holding 1-2 chapter meetings in Pittsburgh to meet with students on a larger level to plan community actions around these issues.
Christin: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?
Brandon: What has surprised me the most is seeing the way that the city defines what is considered potential and what is considered an opportunity to develop something new. More importantly, it has truly highlighted the importance of recognizing the differences between intent and impact when discusses community development.
Christin: What’s your favorite “family meal” recipe for the house?
Brandon: I like to make a southern-style meal that consists of baked lemon pepper chicken with pasta, mac and cheese, with cornbread and authentic sweet tea.