Founder of Branded Arts
Warren Brand affectionately describes his younger self as a “knucklehead.” He loved Busta Rhymes and Jordan shoes.
For Warren, Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica (SMBGC) was a safe space, helping him keep out of trouble.
“I came from a dysfunctional home, which was incredibly challenging,” he said. “The relationships and friendships I made at the Club are ones I still have to this day.”
Warren went to his Club to see friends and connect with adult mentors who helped encourage his interests. He couldn’t wait to visit each day, especially for practice or games as a member of the Biddy Basketball Stars team (alongside Brandon LaBrie, our current Director of Wellness & Athletics).
During one memorable game against the Honolulu team, Warren scored 17 points before fouling out in overtime.
“I was the youngest but tallest kid on the team,” he laughed.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica was there for Warren, during elementary, middle, and high school. It gave him an outlet for his feelings and a safe place to be himself.
“The Club gives people a sense of community and home,” he said. “It acts as a safe haven for kids without access to mentors.”
Warren credits his time at SMBGC with his ability to “get along with all types of people.” Those are skills he learned as an elementary schooler that he will carry with him throughout his life. Today, Santa Monica Boys & Girls Clubs is fostering the next generation of youth who will follow in the footsteps of creatives like Warren. Club members like Anastacia P., who has been attending her Club for three years, where she explores sketching, painting, and other forms of art.
“I love sketching because pencils are always available. Also, watercolors; I like watercolors because they’re perfectly imperfect. The colors aren’t like any other mediums I use,” she said.
“Art is a good way to express your emotions,” she added.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica was a home for Warren. It is a safe place for Anastacia to explore new skills, and it will always be a place where the kids of the future unlock their potential.
Warren is a founding member of our 80 for 80 community, a group of Club alumni supporting our work to empower and equip the youth of today through a consistent monthly donation. When you join Warren as a monthly donor at the $80 level today, you secure an invite to an exclusive cocktail reception where you’ll meet and connect with other alumni and meet the team making our impact happen today. Celebrate your time at the Club by helping us equip the Club kids of today with the tools they need for tomorrow.