With a successful career in higher education and plenty of time 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, he knew he needed to do something.
“Everyone needs a good home, a good upbringing,” Randy explains. Though the role of a foster father doesn’t come without it’s challenges, Randy knows the rewards are far greater: the pride brought by watching his boys overcome obstacles, the joyful memories they’ve created together.
While Randy strives to provide youth with opportunities they’ve never before experienced – sailing, rock climbing, vacations – he remains aware of the simple things 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 not easy. The boys who walk through his door have been let down time and time again; they carry painful memories, are grade levels behind their peers and suffer from incredibly low self-esteem.
But after joining Randy’s family, they improve in school, build self-confidence, find happiness and start to realize their full potential. Through daily “mentoring” walks, Randy learns what’s going on in school, in their lives, with their biological families. He helps create safety and trust 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.”