MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Flying in from Washington DC and an experience of a lifetime on Capital Hill, Brandon Burke arrived at the CBS4 Super Kid reunion all smiles and wearing success well.
From the moment he first met with CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen, Brandon shared his hope to someday run for US Congress and devote his life to making change for others. Would he someday like to hear his name introduced as ‘Congressman Burke’?
“Most definitely. Most definitely. That would definitely be a dream come true,” a smiling Brandon told Gillen.
It is a lofty dream for a little boy who had once been tossed aside and nearly lost in the state of Florida’s foster care system. By adolescence he was raising himself and he did such a good job,he ultimately found his way to Florida’s state capital to give voice to needs of foster care kids.
Given his political aspirations, CBS4 News made a match and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz took him for his first power breakfast. They talked about the needs of children and overcoming tough odds.
They bonded, the Congresswoman an alum of the University of Florida and Brandon was just accepted there. She found him so impressive she extended the ultimate invitation.
“Congratulations, I want to hear about all of your success and when you are up to it you should come intern in my office in D.C.,” Wasserman-Schultz suggested.
“I was taken a back. I was shocked. I was like ‘wow ‘ did I really hear that from the Congresswoman, that she wants to have me be an intern in her office?” Brandon later reflected, still incredulous.
He applied, went through a round of interviews and got the internship. He has been living the dream these past 4 months in D.C.
‘It was really such an absolute pleasure to meet him in South Florida, to be able to be part of the surprise that CBS created for him. He was everything that CBS 4 described him to be and I really felt like we could take this experience for him to the next level. To see that it is really special for me,” the Congresswoman shared in her D.C. office.
“Being an intern in D.C. was very interesting and exciting. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.” Brandon reflected.”I am witnessing history at the moment, so I really do enjoy it.”
And perhaps the best part?
“Everyone in the office is like one big family,” Brandon concluded.
Speaking of family, he says a wonderful D.C. family took him in. Quite the life living in a townhouse, feeling loved and so supported. He will never forget them.
Now Brandon heads off to college, armed with his dreams infused with even greater confidence and gratitude. The magic of mentors paying off as she describes him.
“Brandon is a fantastic example of how someone who has been able to overcome the struggles that life has thrown at his way and he has allowed his dreams to burn so brightly that they kind of blew past those struggles and got him in my congressional office to the university of Florida, I think he won,” said the Congresswoman.
In Florida, Brandon happened to live in her district. But wherever he moves, he says he will be her forever friend and fan and will try to make her proud, underscoring, “I want to show my profound gratitude towards her.”
And sharing his lesson with all those super kids to be.
“The message I would like to leave them is never lose hope. Never lose determination and always strive for your dreams,” said Burke.