I was in college when I began to hear about Randy. His dad was in prison and had liver cancer. His mom was an addict who neglected Randy for her habit. Randy was living with his grandma who was old and had issues of her own. In short, Randy had the odds stacked against him.
But the first time I met Randy, I was home from college. I walked in the door and he was in my living room. He immediately ran over and gave me the biggest hug and with a smile said, “I’m Randy, are you Jill?” This boy was easy to love.
Randy was my dad’s little brother. Not his actual little brother (obviously) but his little brother through the Big Brother’s program. I think he had some before and some since, but I don’t remember any of them but Randy. And I had honestly kind of forgotten about Randy until I was at Great Wolf Lodge last weekend for their Big Brother Big Sister fundraiser.
I sat down with the director and realized that I hadn’t ever stopped to think about how amazing their organization is. And let me be clear, I am not blogging about it because I am supposed to. I just need you to know about Randy’s story.
During the time my dad was his big brother he bounced back and forth between his grandma and his mom. If I remember right at some point his mom ran off with some trucker and fell out of his life. Which I guess was for the best. Randy’s dad eventually got out of prison and hoped to better himself and asked my dad to help him get his affairs in order as he was dying of cancer. So my dad became executor of his estate and the small trust he established for his son.
So about 5 years back my dad gets a call from Randy. My dad does not live in our hometown anymore. So he wasn’t easy to track down. But Randy is a success story. He was adopted as a teen against all odds. He graduated high school. I am not sure what he is doing after that but when he called my dad he was a well spoken, respectful young adult.
I think I can say quite confidently that Big Brothers program and my dad saved Randy. When you are a young boy stepping over needles and being shuttled back and forth between bad and worse home environments you don’t have a lot of hope. Randy desperately wanted to be loved. And our family loved him.
I don’t really have time to mentor a little sister right now. But I was excited to be able to be a small part of raising more than $250,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters at Great Wolf Lodge. And on a weekend where we remember the amazing dads in our lives (including my amazing dad), I hope we can take a moment to try and figure out how to give back to those who need fathers and mothers in their lives.
I was provided with a night’s stay at Great Wolf Lodge, but was under no obligation to post about it. In fact, I already posted about it. But when I recounted this story to the director of BBBS I really wanted to share it with you. So I did. Also this post is linked up to Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things.