With a successful career in higher education and plenty of opportunities to enjoy his loves of sailing and traveling, Randy admits he’s lived a privileged life. He attributes much of it to the influence and encouragement of his parents. So, after watching a television special featuring the plight of thousands of foster teens, it wasn’t long before he did something about it.
“Everyone needs a good home, a good upbringing,” Randy explains. With four boys currently under his roof, Randy acknowledges that his patience is tested, his expectations perhaps too high, his trust occasionally violated. But that pales in comparison to the satisfaction brought by watching the boys overcome personal obstacles, the rewards he receives as their foster father, the joyful memories they’ve created through birthday celebrations and family trips.
And while Randy strives to provide youth with opportunities they’ve never before experienced – sailing, rock climbing, vacations – he remains acutely aware of the simple provisions that make a difference.
“There’s a constant source of food, new clothes, school supplies, a place to sleep, their own room,” Randy says. There’s someone who cares, who carves out time every day for quality time with each one. “I have the ability to help change lives. Every kid needs to know there’s at least one person in the world they can always turn to, no matter what.”
It’s certainly not easy. The boys who walk through his door have been let down time and time again; they carry painful, traumatic memories, are grade levels behind their peers and suffer from incredibly low self-esteem.
But after joining Randy’s family, the boys improve academically, build self-confidence and begin to find happiness. Through daily “mentoring” walks, Randy learns what’s going on in school, in their lives, with their biological families. He helps create the safety and trust so few have previously known.
“You can’t give up on these kids, even if they give up on themselves,” Randy says. “Each one is a better person when he leaves my home than when he arrived.”
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