Drop A Coat, Warm Your Heart

Randolph Randy Camp

Somewhere near us, at this very moment, regardless of our location, there is someone on the street without a home and without a coat. In this sometimes cruel, coldhearted world we can all do a little something to warm our hearts. As we approach the winter season, some businesses and non-profit organizations will conduct winter coat drives for the homeless and those in need. It warms my heart when I go through my closet and pick out an old heavy coat or two, in which I no longer wear, and drop it off at a local homeless shelter.

Most places that are willing to accept used coats will have it heat-treated first before they actually hand it out. Please double-check in your local area for the clothing donation policy at the city mission, teen drop-in center, homeless shelter, or the thrift stores that supports the local soup kitchens. Whether I’m at St. Vincent DePaul’s Soup Kitchen near Main and Utica in Buffalo, at the Bethel Mission near 6th and University in Des Moines, or down on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, it absolutely breaks my heart to see the rising number of homeless, especially the homeless teens sleeping on the sidewalks and under bridges. When I was living in Los Angeles I witnessed a particular transit bus being used during the wee hours of the night, whereby the homeless could ride and sleep in peace just as long they don’t bother the other passengers. 

 We can all do a little something. Drop a coat and warm your own heart. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Today’s Amazing Teens

Screenwriter Randolph Randy Camp

Sometimes, I don’t think that our young people get enough credit for their good deeds and positive vibes in which they put out every day. Similar to the adult world, the criminal and negative activity conducted by a small percentage of our young people will get publicized but it’s very rare that the countless good deeds of the majority will get any attention at all.

Whenever I’m in the company of young people not only do I love hearing about what they are currently doing, but I also love to listen to their thoughts, ideas, and dreams about their future. It’s easy to get the wrong impression about some of today’s youth, especially when you enter a fast-food restaurant and the teen behind the counter greets you as if you’d just interrupted his or her break and everything mentioned about providing good customer service during their orientation went straight out the window after their first week on the job. And of course, not all teenagers act this way. Personally, I try to look pass these few young individuals who, unfortunately, give teenagers a bad reputation.

The open discussions I have during and after a classroom book talk session with students are some of the most engaging and intriguing discussions I’ve ever heard. The questions, comments, and opinions of some of these young people just blows my mind, and any reservations or doubts I might have had about our youth running the country in the future quickly dissipates after listening to the students intelligently articulate and express themselves on a wide range of subjects, including sex, politics, fashion trends, gun control, and race relations. What I enjoy most during my school book talks is how the students typically would freely say things that most people would only feel comfortable saying at the kitchen table or privately among their close friends or family members. In my personal opinion, I think that we need more of these open discussions in America so that we can improve our race relations and the basic way we treat each other here in America (and around the world.)

When I’m surrounded by these bright kids I wish that others could hear their thoughts and opinions about what’s going on in the world today. In my most recent high school visit, the students and I covered a wide range of interesting topics, including the removal of Confederate statues, the NFL national anthem – kneeling debate, the delayed Puerto Rico disaster FEMA relief, gun control, human trafficking, teen homelessness, bullying, immigration and DACA. I’ll never forget this most recent school visit because I was asked a question by one of the students in which I’d never been asked before. She asked, “Mr. Camp, if there was one person right now, in the whole world, who you would love to meet and ask him or her a few questions, who would it be?” You should’ve seen the looks on the kids’ faces as I quickly answered, “Malala Yousafzai”.  And, interesting enough, my response to that question actually led us into another engaging and lively discussion.

Yes indeed, I have tremendous faith in our amazing youth, and I truly believe that we have a very bright future ahead. – Randolph Randy Camp

*(photo: Me standing amid high school students after a meet-the-author/book talk discussion.)

More at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

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Glimmer of Hope

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One of my childhood joys was riding my bike through the back roads of Spotsylvania County. Sometimes, my cousins, my brothers and I would ride together. I’ll never forget this one particular summer’s day when I was riding alone. I was slowly pedaling pass a white house with green-trimmed windows. I heard a young voice yell out “Randy! Randy!” From around the corner of the house one of my classmates was excitedly waving ‘hello’. I slowed to a stop and we chatted about how our summer break was going and how we both were wondering who our teachers would be once school starts in several weeks. We were both unapologetic book nerds and the kind of “weird” kids who couldn’t wait to go back to school. Our friendly chat was abruptly cut short when the front door hastily flew open and her angry, red-faced father yelled and ordered her to “Get in the house!”

Growing up as a Black kid in America certainly wasn’t easy. Many people of color could tell you countless stories of walking casually along the country road or city sidewalk and someone yells out a derogatory word from a passing vehicle. When I was a kid I would always wish and hope that things would get better between the races. It seems as though I was always looking for that glimmer of hope.

Nowadays, as I strongly advocate “start with one person at a time”, I wholeheartedly believe that things will get better, and my proof and example of my faith and hope stems from one of many personal life experiences. Remember the young White classmate who I was chatting with on that summer’s day and her racist father told her to “get in the house!”…Well, she had moved away from her racist father and now owns a small independent bookstore near the Virginia-Maryland state line. We still keep in touch, and she proudly has my four books on full display near the entrance of her store, especially ‘Wet Matches’, she says, as it carries the message of “don’t judge anybody.”

We’re in the fall of 2017 and America is seemingly regurgitating history, instead of moving wisely forward and learning from it. My message to everyone (especially to those kids out there who are currently wishing and hoping that things will get better) is to keep doing what you’re doing and please don’t fall into the trap of negativity. There are far more positive people in this world than negative ones, and you’re certainly one of the good ones. And that glimmer of hope for a better world will come from you. – Randolph Randy Camp

More at https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphcamp

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You Are Important Too

Randy Camp Writer

All of our goals and dreams start with a vision. It’s our own fear sometimes that stops us from our own potential. If you’ve been dreaming about becoming your own boss, perhaps, opening up your own restaurant but you’ve talked yourself out of actually pursuing it, well, it’s time for you to stop doubting yourself and just go for it! Sit down tonight and begin to write down all of your special dishes you’ve enjoyed making for your family and others over the years. Envision the patrons at the tables reading your colorful menu. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel then stop talking about it and write your opening sentence. And then you have to envision the image or artwork on the front cover. If you want that desk job with that decent salary then envision yourself sitting there at that big oak desk talking on the phone or typing that big important executive memo. We work all day for others, allowing and helping others to pursue their dreams, but what about your goals? How much time are you devoting to your own dreams and goals? Don’t become that bitter, grumpy person later in life because you’d let your dream wither away. You are important. Your dreams and goals are important. Your goals and dreams can be realized, just envision it! – Randolph Randy Camp

More at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

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Human Error

Randolph Randy Camp

Every now and then we hear of these situations whereby a person’s skin color has unfortunately caused another person to make a human error. In my personal life this week, I had to face this superficial judgment head on, and I must be honest with you, I’m still deeply troubled by it.

Imagine a White supremacist refusing medical help once he or she finds out that their attending nurse or doctor is African-American. If the patient is conscious, he or she may possibly request to be attended by a White nurse or a White doctor. It’s terribly sad that America is still dealing with these superficial human errors in 2017.

Because of these unfortunate situations, I’ve gain a better understanding of God’s intervention in our human decisions. Now I truly understand why, in certain cases, a patient arrives at the hospital in an unconscious state. Did God intervene to prevent this patient from making another human error? – Randolph Randy Camp

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Our Vulnerable Youth

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Randolph Randy Camp at WBFO Radio with Reporter Eileen Buckley.

Unfortunately, human trafficking has become a rising social issue in America. And sadly, after natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Houston area, there’s a predictable spike in human trafficking due to the high number of displaced and extremely vulnerable people, especially people who were already living in poverty.

The number of homeless youth in America is already on the rise, and natural disasters will certainly attract those shady individuals, including pimps and hustlers, who prey upon these desperate, vulnerable young people.

Supporting and getting involved with helping agencies in any capacity is always appreciated. Becoming more aware and spreading the word about Youth Homelessness and Human Trafficking are helpful as well. Thank you. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Reflections: Sunday Afternoons

RandolphRandyCamp1978SpotsyHigh

I grew up approximately fifty miles in between Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia in rural Spotsylvania County. America, during the 60’s and early 70’s was experiencing civil unrest and heated racial tensions. Remarkably, in spite of America’s strife during those turbulent years, our Grandparents were able to let us see the sunshine, regardless of the darkness around us. Here’s my childhood reflections on our Sunday afternoons:

There were chickens picking at the red bologna strings in the yard and a whole lot of love on the porch every Sunday afternoon at Ruff n’ Ma’Rie’s. There was an old, rust-spotted Ford sitting in the yard that I’ve never seen moved, not even once, but on Sundays, if you believed the wild stories from Uncle Carl’s and Scootie’s mouths, they had you thinking that that ol’ Ford had them running 208 and the back roads from Spotsy to Fredericksburg just last night! Man, on Sundays you could hear some wild stories.

Yep, on Sunday afternoons, all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins would gather up at Ruff n’ Ma’Rie’s. We all came from them. I never got a chance to thank my beloved Grandparents for what they’ve given us.

Thank you Ruff n’ Ma’Rie for giving us Maitland, who’d left us too soon but gave us the legacy of music and gold with Brenda, Francis, Snookum, Kenny, Jimmy James and Lonnie. Thank you Ma’Rie n’ Ruff for giving us sweet Josephine, better known to us as “Phine”, and let’s not forget your precious gifts of Uncle Roosevelt, Uncle Carl, Uncle Scootie, Aunt Edith Mae, Aunt Ruth Edna, and Aunt ‘Margret’rie’. And I, of course, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my Mother, Lorene, who was another piece of gold from your Brook’s tree.

Yes indeed, we all came from you two. So, thank you again Ma’Rie n’ Ruff for those precious Sunday afternoons and for everything you’ve done for us ‘cause we are who we are now, in 2017, because of you and our golden roots. And we’re forever grateful that we all came from you two. Yep, thank you Ruff n’ Ma’Rie for the big juicy strawberries down the hill and all of ‘em wonderful stories and love on the porch.

No matter what you and your family are going through at this time, I hope that you’re able to let some sunshine in, regardless of the dark clouds that maybe lingering above. – Randolph Randy Camp

(photo: Randolph Camp, actual school ID card from 1970’s)

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