YLC intern focused on positive leadership and resiliency issues

There are teenagers in Key Biscayne using their talents to bring kindness and positive behaviors to the community and beyond. Youth Lead Change (YLC) is a local program designed to help them do this and more.

The program helps high school students become stronger leaders, offering courses for leadership, mental-emotional health, civics/advocacy and design thinking for change. YLC also offers one-on-one mentoring.

Thomas Brulay is a MAST Academy student involved with YLC, and as with all students in this program, he was asked to identify his passion, then create a project to promote it.

“Here in South Florida, many native species are being decimated, like coral, that are sensitive to climate change,” he said. “Battling climate change and advocating for clean, renewable energy are two subjects that I am most passionate about.”

Brulay’s project follows three goals adapted from the United Nations:

- Clean affordable energy

- Sustainable cities

- Climate action

Brulay is involved with Green Champions, an initiative created in a partnership between MAST Academy PTSA and Frost Science Museum dedicated “to raising awareness of climate change.”

Last summer, Brulay was a YLC intern at HahnX, an experience that, he said, helped him “develop my leadership and communication skills.”

He also volunteered at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park over the summer. There, he picked up trash and debris that littered the beach and nature trails, and he also cleared downed trees and broken branches from the trails.

As part of his YLC project, Brulay said he wants to arrange for “a power purchase agreement with FPL to include solar energy at MAST.” He also has proposals before the Miami-Dade School Board for solar energy panels at the school.

The biggest stumbling block so far has been COVID slowing the wheels of bureaucracy. “Everything takes so long to happen,” he said.

The rising senior at MAST came to Miami with his family when he was four. Both his father, Henry, and his mother, Christina, have successful marketing businesses.

When he graduates, the young man who speaks Portuguese and Spanish, plans to study business and marketing in college.

“My mom is a role model for me. She came to America speaking no English and has worked hard to be successful. She is my inspiration,” he said, adding that he also appreciates the assistance of his mentor, Dr. Roland Samimy, Village of Key Biscayne’s Chief Resilience Officer.

If you attend high school and live on Key Biscayne, you are eligible to join the YLC team. For more information please visit the YLC website: YouthLeadKB.org or contact Pat Woodson at: info@youthlead.org.

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