The Do-Gooders: Barton Brooks, Global Colors

Barton Brooks is a one-guy charity powerhouse, literally helping the planet one country and one person at a time. Brooks is about to embark on an around-the-world tour, 52 weeks of changing the world, doing volunteer work on each stop at a grassroots, hands-in-the dirt level. "At this time in my life, I don't fit in New York or Los Angeles," Brooks explains. "But when I'm in a refugee camp or an orphanage or in the middle of an African village trying to make a difference, that's where my mind seems to rest." It was on a trip to Cambodia that Brooks first decided to devote his time to helping others. He ditched a career as a real estate agent and founded Global Colors, a nonprofit organization. He funded the first project by selling his only asset: a beloved Shelby Cobra replica that he had built by hand. "I may not know how to write a grant or throw some gala to raise money, but I know guerilla aid."

Through his planet-treks and do-good efforts, Brooks hopes to prove that one person can make a big difference. How does one prepare for a year of working in some of the darkest corners of the planet? "There's not a whole lot that scares me," he claims. "The hardest part is when I see things I can't change or when I don't have enough to give to those I come across. Sometimes I want to help everyone and fix everything, so it has a tendency to overwhelm me at times, but I just have to do what I can and hopefully it will grow from there." Peter Davis


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