Barrett Keene is known as a dancing fool, a Gator fan, a triathlete, a country boy, and a Christian. He is pursuing a PhD at Cornell University with concentrations in Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior. Barrett researches how teachers can be effective leaders within their classrooms. Barrett first got involved in serving orphans on a trip to Guatemala. He spent 18 days in Brazil last January volunteering at an orphanage. After growing up in Plant City, FL, Barrett attended the University of Florida. While attending UF, Barrett served as a national officer for FFA. Barrett was blessed to be a middle and high school Agriscience teacher in Miami and Tampa. After earning a master’s degree in Business Management from the University of South Florida, Barrett began studying at Cornell. Also, Barrett has led educational programs on leadership for more than 290,000 people since age 16 (KeeneLeadership.com). During the walk, Barrett is leading a team of researchers at Cornell as they conduct a study with more than 30 excellent middle and high school teachers across the country who are also incredible leaders. The goal is to understand more about how teachers can and do lead students.
Dozens of people across the country are working to serve orphans and make this walk a reality! The incredible students in the Cornell University Dyson Business School Business Opportunities in Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) program serve as the backbone for the logistics and planning for the walk. Seventeen students are currently developing a database of the major organizations (schools, colleges, religious institutions, companies, media, etc.) in all 137 towns and cities along the route! Eleven BOLD students are reaching out to potential corporate partners. Twelve Cornell students, mostly in the BOLD program, are developing grassroots initiatives at colleges along the route. Communication students at Cornell University, the University of Florida, Kansas State University, and Cal Poly are partnering to lead the communication efforts through social media and press releases. Additionally, small teams are forming in each of the large cities to plan a large (at least 500 people) walk through each of the downtown areas! We are so incredibly blessed to have such a tremendous team serving and contributing to the lives of children. Finally, this fall we partnered with Arms Around the World ministry for guidance and LegacyChamp.com as our sponsor for expenses during walk.
Barrett connected with the Global Orphan Project through one of the coolest dudes living in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti, Mr. Jacob Barreth. Jake was Barrett’s roommate in Miami. Jake and Barrett spent several days in prayer and reflection two years ago while on a trip to Honduras and both settled on serving orphans as the central focus of service in their lives. Not long after returning from Honduras, Jake traveled to Haiti with The Global Orphan Project. Jake fell in love with the children and the organization and within a matter of months, Jake accepted a position leading the efforts of the GO Projects in Haiti! Jake now serves 14 orphanages and over 1,200 children throughout Haiti. Jake was fortunate enough to open the sewing center in Haiti last summer. Barrett was so inspired by the work of the Global Orphan Project and Jacob’s commitment to bringing Christ’s call to serve and give to life, he decided to begin this journey to share with others and present opportunities for others to give and to go.