A life-long resident of Riverside County, Brandon grew up the working-class son of a pastor and public-school bus driver. His parents moved there to start their family, escaping gang violence in Compton. His mother was nearly the victim of a drive-by shooting, narrowly missing being struck by bullets whizzing by overhead. The church helped Brandon’s parents find a better path forward, and it helped a young Brandon discover his passion: helping others. Brandon has been leading in his community for practically his entire life—he preached his first sermon at 6 and was immediately hooked on the transformative power of service. After graduating from Vista del Lago High School in 2005, Brandon became the first in his family to attend college, matriculating into Cal State Dominguez Hills. Brandon likes to say he attended college on a “hope scholarship”— he always hoped he’d find a way to pay for it. With little support to fall back on, he had to pay his own way working full time— he’s still paying the loans off.