I grew up in a tough home — one filled with physical violence, mental abuse, drugs, filth, sadness, and poverty.” Randall Rene, a Comcast construction manager, softly adds more context. ”My father left when I was just months old, and I rarely saw him throughout my life.” Randall wound up becoming “Bro Dad” to his younger sisters, and avoiding school at every opportunity. It was took a few influential adults — particularly his high school track coach – to guide him to graduation.
All of which makes Randall’s recognition as the Big Brother of the Year for the State of Oregon touchingly appropriate: goodness coming out of true sadness. Randall, a 6’6” gentle giant, was honored by Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest for his commitment and dedication to his “Little,” Henry.
Randall and Henry have been paired together for two years through the Beyond School Walls program, which brings at-risk kids to work sites twice per month to meet with their Big and participate in curriculum designed to encourage personal growth and development of life skills. Comcast was the first company to enroll in the Beyond School Walls program, and has been participating for nine years. The big yellow school bus is a familiar sight at our corporate office.
Here is an excerpt from 4th-grader Henry’s essay nominating Randall for the honor:
My Big Brother and I do a lot of fun things together when we are at school and at his work. My favorite time together was when he invited me and my mom to go to his college graduation. This was a very special day for my Big Brother and I am proud of him. Because of him, I want to graduate high school and I also want to go to college and graduate.
Randall has promised Henry that he will attend both Henry’s high school AND college graduations. “Henry has taught me just as much as I’ve tried to instill in him. He’s reminded me of the joy of being a kid, an experience I never really had, trying to keep my family together.