Participant Story: Brian Charles


“It is great to have a support system of people who are going through similar challenges as I am after just graduating from college.” – Brian Charles


Brian Charles, a native of State College, Pennsylvania, graduated from Goshen College with a degree in Sociology. Brian completed his senior thesis on social values within food cooperatives, which involved reaching out and working within the local food system of Goshen. He also was a member of the Goshen College Tree Care Committee, helping his campus gain membership for Tree Campus USA for the first time. Brian is excited to be a part of PULSE and the Pittsburgh community. In his free time, Brian enjoys playing sports, hiking, and hanging out with friends. He is serving at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Equiana Brown: Tell me somthing you are learning about yourself through PULSE.

Brian Charles: I have become more aware of my position in society. I thought before coming into PULSE that I had a lot of real-world experience, but I’ve realized I only knew a certain kind of people. In Goshen I was living in the Mennonite bubble.  I now get to be around people of all backgrounds.

PULSE has also made me money conscious. It has also made me think about living in community and all the challenges and joys it has. It takes effort to live in community because you have to be conscious of other people.

Equiana: What do you enjoy most about your nonprofit partnership?

Brian: It would be easier to say what I don’t like because it would be a much shorter list. I love my nonprofit partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy! I have amazing co-workers who have been extremely helpful in helping me get to know my position. I love planting trees, being outside, and talking with volunteers.

Equiana: What have you enjoyed most about living in community?

Brian: I have enjoyed connecting with people and building friendships. There is never a dull moment in PULSE because most people are always willing to go out, explore and do things. It is great to have a support system of people who are going through similar challenges as I am after just graduating from college. It is easy to come home to three other people who are going through similiar things adn can cheer you up when you aren’t having the best day. Another plus is getting good meals.

Equiana: What surprised you most about Pittsburgh?

Brian: Pittsburgh is up and coming. There are so many museums, bars, events and things to do. Pittsburgh is really re-inventing itself and it is really cool. I am also surprised about how small the city is. It makes it easy to explore multiple different neighborhoods in a day. Also the hills! Pittsburgh is hiller than I thought.

Equiana: What is your favorite family meal?

Brian: Spencer made a mulled wine stew with beef and carrots (mashed potatoes on the side).  It was just after the first really cold day.

Story by PULSE Participant Equiana Brown.

Read more Participant Stories from Fellows about their experience in PULSE. If you would like to learn more about the PULSE program, please visit our Serve with Us page.

Also, check out other Stories of Transformation: