Weekly Stories


Baltimore Homecoming Hero Semi-finalist


Back in 2012, I set out to make a difference and provide Baltimore City youth in my community with access to a quality education as well as the resources and opportunities needed to achieve success. Never once did I think about making money for myself or receiving accolades. It was all about paying it forward since I had received so much support after my injury. The thought of being in the spotlight was also never a thought. In fact, for years I tried to find ways to not be the face of the foundation. However ...

read more

The Ripple Effect


I’m a strong believer that one small act can change the world! If you’ve been following me you’ve probably heard me saying, “one person can make a difference. It’s like throwing a pebble in a pond. You throw a pebble in a bond and the ripples that come from that expand long and wide.”

Here’s how it works; you never know what someone is going through. When you do one kind act for someone like providing exceptional customer service, giving someone words of encouragement, or using your gifts/skills to ...

read more

Take Advantage of Opportunities


Last week I took a short vacation to New Orleans to rest before the start of our 4th Annual SAFE Camp. While in New Orleans, I spent a lot of time taking in the culture, eating local food, and watching in amazement at the talented performers on Bourbon St and in the French Quarter. I saw some of the best freestyle rap artists and bands, an amazing saxophone player, kids playing the drums on buckets while others tapped danced to the beat with cans on their feet serving as taps, a dog that was ...

read more

A Letter to my Dad


As a young child you were my biggest role model and I tried my hardest to make you happy. However, despite my efforts it seemed as if nothing I did was good enough for you. I didn’t understand why you were so hard on me when I did everything you asked of me. When you would wake me up before the sun rose on weekends and daily during the summer, despite my grogginess, I was happy to tag along with you and learn whatever the lesson you were teaching. I vividly remember that at ...

read more

I'm Back!


My apologies, it’s been months since I wrote my last blog. So much has transpired in my life so I’m just going to dive right in.

Over the past year and a half, after being appointed by Governor Larry Hogan, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the Director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. I’m extremely excited to tell you that I resigned from that position in May 2019 to return to SAFE. Since my resignation, whenever I tell someone I know longer serve in that position ...

read more

Building for God


Lord, teach us to be generous, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.

That prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola was something I said repetitively during my time at Loyola Blakefield. Despite that, I never took the time to fully understand the prayer until I founded Safe Alternative Foundation for Education.

This prayer puts ...

read more

How I Got Here


This past week I had the pleasure of filming the final session of a project LinkedIn is documenting on me to be a feature in their #HowIGotHere series. Thursday began at 7:30am at my home filming my morning routine. After speaking with my mom, and answering emails, I headed off to therapy. 

Promptly at 9:00am I transferred to a mat to get into a harness to practice walking. Film crew and photographer in tow, I had the best walking session to date. I found the rhythm of my walking pattern a lot sooner ...

read more

Pushing the Limits


Born on February 2 the weather is always iffy in Baltimore on my birthday. Due to this, the past couple of years I’ve traveled to Aruba and Mexico to celebrate in warm weather. This year however, I had the opportunity to visit Aspen, Colorado to try my hand at adaptive skiing for the first time.

This trip really pushed me out of my comfort zone because I always wondered, “why would anyone want to slide down steep mountains on two boards?” I guess you could blame it on the many years I’ve watched ...

read more

Martin Luther King Jr. Day


"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

Today as we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the nation’s largest day of civic engagement, I encourage you to ask yourself that question, “What are you doing for others?”

Dr. Martin Luther King embodied what it means to be a man for others. He has paved the way for individuals like myself to have the freedom and opportunities I do today. Dr. King has lit the torch and it’s up to us to carry it. One of ...

read more

Coffee with Kim


What happens when life shatters? When your hopes and dreams are no longer possible, can one, can you, can anyone truly triumph over tragedy?

These were the questions asked to open my conversation on “Coffee with Kim”. Listen to the podcast to hear answers to the most critical questions we all ask ourselves when dealing with tragic events and circumstances. 

  • Learn how to overcome obstacles time and time again to find purpose after tragedy using my 6 Step Guide to Overcoming Obstacles
  • Learn how God broke me to get my attention and redirect my life ...
read more

Crush Your New Year's Goals


For many people the start of the new year begins with reflecting on the previous years' accomplishments or setbacks, readjusting, and setting new goals and resolutions. 

I’m no exception!

I’ve written down all my goals for my work as the Director of Maryland’s Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, Safe Alternative Foundation for Education, VanBrooks.com, and the other organizations I’m a part of.  I’ve also written a strategic plan for each.

Now as you know, many people won't achieve the goals they’ve set or stick to ...

read more

Not so Merry Christmas


A family tradition my parents and I have had over the past decade and a half was to spend the weeks of Christmas and the New Year in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Two years ago, was the first time the tradition had been broken. I didn’t want to take the 8-hour drive, so I decided to stay home.

Thinking about it now, the idea of breaking the tradition didn’t stand out because I spent the entire day with a close friend and their family.

Last year, my parents and I went back to ...

read more

Live, Love, & Laugh


I’ve nearly had the same routine for every Thanksgiving Day in the past decade. First, I’d go to the Turkey Bowl football game between the rival schools Loyola Blakefield and Calvert Hall then I’d have dinner with my parents. However, Thanksgiving Day five years ago was different. 

I still attended that game in the frigid cold and sat on Loyola’s sideline talking with my good friend John. However, after the game I ate dinner alone because my parents were traveling. Not wanting me to be alone, John invited me to go ...

read more

Van, You're Out of Shape

Tuesday of last week I had a doctors appointment to get a check up to make sure I'm healthy. Before my doctor came in, the nurse took my weight and to my surprise she said I was 183 pounds.
"183 pounds" I responded, "that's the biggest I've ever been since my injury!" I typically weighed in around 170 pounds.

I'm not saying I gained that weight in a few weeks but due to a busy work schedule, I had missed a few gym sessions. So guess what? The next day I ...
read more