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Chef Brother Luck's Inspirational Speech to Students Highlights Mental Health Awareness

Chef Brother Luck, an acclaimed restaurateur from Colorado Springs, delivered an inspirational speech to Middle and Upper School students on Wednesday, September 20, in our ongoing effort to bring awareness to mental health.

Brother shared his journey from being a boy who lost his father at 10 years old to becoming a renowned figure in the culinary world and the struggles he faced along the way. His story is highlighted in his highly reviewed memoir, "No Lucks Given: Life is hard but there is hope." Each student received a signed copy of the book.

With a James Beard nomination under his belt, Brother is a fan favorite on popular cooking shows like "Top Chef," "Chopped," and "Beat Bobby Flay." He has been featured in various publications, including Food and Wine Magazine, and has made appearances on national television programs such as "The Rachael Ray Show" and "The Today Show." Brother owns three restaurants in Colorado Springs: Four, Folklore Irish Pub, and The Studio.

Brother was a successful adult when his internal voices of insecurity and hopelessness became too big to disregard any longer. "I realized I wasn't dealing with my past. I wasn't dealing with my problems," he said. "Ignoring a problem will never make it go away, and you can hide it for years until the closet is so full it's going to burst off the hinges. That's what happened to me."

Since losing his father, he kept feelings locked away, feelings that stayed with him into adulthood. He found ways to numb himself.

"Dealing with my mental health was one of the best things that I did for myself, and it took me almost 20-something years to finally do it," he said. "I realized I wasn't alone. I realized the things that I felt inside, where I felt most alone, other people did too. I started to share what I was going through. And I thought for sure I was going to be judged, I was going to be labeled, I was going to be put into a box. I was blown away by the acceptance, the understanding, and the support. People wanted to help me."

Brother began working with a therapist, something he didn't put much effort into when he was younger. He either shut down or told therapists what they wanted to hear. As an adult, he saw the value in opening up and encouraged students to do the same.

"I had to focus on my mental health. I had to choose me, and it started with the mirror. I had to begin all over again by looking at myself in the mirror and saying, 'You know what? You're a pretty cool dude. I think I like you. I think you've got potential. I think you can be something I love you.' I didn't tell myself that for years. I didn't feel I like deserved it. I didn't feel like I was worthy of it. I had beaten myself down for so many years I had started to believe it. I think that's where we have to be extremely cautious, especially at this time of your lives. Don't be afraid to share what you're going through. No matter what you're pursuing, no matter where you come from, you're not alone. This is why I get on stage and share my story."

After his presentation in the Louisa Performing Arts Center, which parents were invited to, Brother answered questions such as how to focus when struggling mentally, his favorite food (tacos), and his favorite recipe to make (his grandmother's jumbo).

Brother, a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, will be participating in this year's NAMIWalks Colorado Springs on Saturday, October 7, an event sponsored by The Colorado Springs School. Students, parents, grandparents, faculty, and staff are invited to support mental health by joining the Kodiak Care Bears team for the event from 9 a.m. to noon at Panorama Park, 4540 Fenton Rd.

This is more than a walk! Festivities include a DJ, food trucks, face painting, yoga, kids' activity tent, and more. We look forward to seeing you! Unable to attend but still want to help us reach our $1,000 goal? Donate any amount by Oct. 5 to the Kodiak Care Bears team by clicking here and choosing Support Us. Proceeds benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.