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Having spent much of his life in and out of foster homes and group homes, Randel J, age 20 from Texas, has had to learn a powerful lesson; he has the power within himself to turn bad situations into something beautiful. “Being in the foster care system has actually been very beneficial. It was hard at first, but the more I was moved around and the more people I met, the clearer people became to me," Randel observes. He attributes valuable assets such as empathy, friendship, courage and bravery to his experience. "Through it all, my character formed and has molded me into the person I am today.” While his belief that every cloud has a silver lining has worked for him, Randel understands that some youth may have not yet learned to turn their adversity into tangible life benefits. “Who knows youth better than youth?” Randel feels strongly that, based on his experience as a foster care youth, he can help current youth through their time in the system, and look forward to a world of opportunities afterwards. Randel is currently attending Blinn College in Texas and has one more semester before he is a Certified Nursing Assistant. His experience in the medical field has led him to care for and appreciate people from all colors and abilities. Inspired by sympathy for his mother who suffers from a debilitating physical handicap, his long-term goal in the healthcare industry is to become a Registered Nurse and Hematologist. Randel is currently a correctional officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He attends a leadership development program, volunteers with Keep Brazos Beautiful, and sings with United gospel choir to patients in long-term care facilities. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, and martial arts and is currently working on his first novel.

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