5 Minutes of Kindness Goes A Long Way

All week on Instagram my topic has been centered around the importance of finding confidence and feeling powerful as women. Today’s post was going to be based around the same topic, but then I went to a conference in San Diego and something wonderful happened…

ps: I love San Diego. Every year, right around this time, I attend a marketing conference where I get to be a nobody in a sea of people, learning new tricks of my trade and it’s my absolute favorite. When I turn the corner from Kettner to get onto Harbor and see the two ginormous Hyatt skyscrapers, I feel home. I don’t take this for granted.

On the trek to my hotel I bustled past a number of homeless. The sun had gone down so the temp was dipping into the low 50s and I couldn’t help but feel extremely privileged (then a little guilty) as I scurried past them with a full stomach, a bag full of clothes, and on my way to a hotel where a big warm bed (that I didn’t have to share with my husband) was waiting for me.

The next morning I still felt this pull inside my heart to do something for those I’d be walking past that morning who were packing up their sleeping bag. All of a sudden I remembered I had a leftover snack pack from the train ride in the night before and decided this small thing might be capable of making someone else’s day that much sweeter, so I grabbed it as I walked out my room and spent the elevator ride pumping myself up to not chicken out.

For those of you who don’t know, I do an annual fundraiser every year in November for homeless youth. I spend one night out on the street in front of Covenant House California so that another kid doesn’t have to. This is my passion, but I’m human and learned Stranger Danger so it’s still a little nerve wracking because you’re not a fortune teller and won’t be able to know how your good intentions will be received.

As the elevator doors opened my game plan was solid. I would walk my route and the first person who looked at me, said good morning, or smiled at me (basically letting them make the first move, sorta), I would ask, “do you need some food? I have some extra.”

Having a plan and what I’m going to say makes me feel solid. So off I went and it didn’t take more than 50 feet for me to give away my snack pack.

He was an older gentleman digging through a trash can, possibly for recyclables, possibly for food, and he was next to the crosswalk I needed to get across Harbor, and I think when I didn’t walk around him to avoid him, he looked up at me and said, “good morning.”

I told him good morning, and asked him if he needed food. All he could muster was shaking his head. He didn’t reach out his hand until he saw I was indeed handing him the box. After he grabbed it I told him I hope he had a good day and I was off. The whole scenario was less than 5-minutes.

By no means did I do anything to make his day better. A snack pack from the train isn’t going to end world hunger, but I’m hoping I made his morning a little brighter and it took absolutely nothing from me to do it (besides the balls).

I put the whole exchange on my stories and fought back tears while telling it. There is something about the look he gave me when I asked him if he needed food that tipped my emotions overboard. So I decided the next two morning I’d be doing the same thing.

After the keynote speaker on Monday night I went to the gym to run and work off some of the pent up energy I had after sitting all day. When I was finished and looking for some water, I noticed a bowl of apples…

Yes, I pulled a Ross and took a handful of apples knowing I’d be giving them away the next morning. Earlier that afternoon I had also stocked piled a cup of nuts from the conference with the same intention.

Tuesday morning I walked out from my hotel with a ziplock baggy filled with two apples and a coffee cup filled of dry nuts. I gave it to a man who was brushing his hair and when I asked him if he needed some extra food, he paused.

“Of course, yes! Yes, yes! Sorry, I don’t know where my head was there, I was off thinking about something else and wasn’t expecting…yes, yes, I would love some food, thanks.”

Day Three: I raided the gym bowl of apples again from my run the night before, had another cup of nuts, and two Kashi bars I had grabbed from home as my “just in case” snacks during the conference.

An older man who had said good morning to me got one of the apples and then asked me where I was from, I told him originally from Buffalo, and he said, “okay thanks, have a good day.”

I was saving the majority of my hoard for a family who popped up the night before, a man, woman, and two small children. They didn’t acknowledge me, I said good morning and the gentleman jumped a little like he was caught off guard.

“Do you need some food?”

Nobody deserves to be hungry. We all fall on hard times, some of them are harder than others. There is plenty of food in this world to go around and I think we ought to start sharing it.

A 5-minute gesture of kindness could change the world if done once, twice, or three times a week. You never know.

Stay kind my friends. Happy Thursday!

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Someone Like You – The One With Dj

It’s Friday, which means another episode of Someone Like You is ready for download. This week is The One With Dj and we meet a young man who has been to hell and back, back again and got back on the wagon.

I’m glad you’re here, especially those who have stuck with me these last three months and have fared my nervous laughter and questionable audio. I appreciate you all SO much. And for those of you who might be new, my name is Shannon and I’m the voice who narrates this show. Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless? How do we end homelessness?

For the last few months we have been able to meet a new voice who shares their story of survival ever other Friday, and today is a little bittersweet because my guest today is the last interview I have to share for the year. But don’t worry! I’ll be working on getting more interviews next year so I will be back for season 2. Follow me on Instagram @sjrandol to know the second season two airs.

Dj grew up in Highland Park, spent some time in Hollywood and now lives in a sweet apartment next to Staples Center.

He’s working at Trader Joe’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond, AND has prime physical custody of his 18-month old son. He spends his free time getting his little guy familiar with sports and prepping him for pre-school/daycare.

There are nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in the city of Los Angeles and 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year.

Meet Dj.


Come be my friend on Instagram, I’m on Facebook but I think I play better on IG, lol. I also just launched a podcast centered around getting to know our homeless youth in hopes to better understand how to stop it by getting to know the young people who survived it. Listen to the very first episode, here.  

The One With Ms. Lon – Someone Like You

It’s Friday, which means another episode of Someone Like You is ready for download. This week is The One With Ms. Lon and we meet Covenant House California’s Alumni Coordinator and RA, Lon Usher.

She’s originally from Kentucky, ran away from home when she was 16 years old and has been working with Covenant House California for thirty years. We discuss what she’s learned throughout her years working with homeless youth, the stories that have affected her the most and what she believes will help end youth homelessness.

If you’re new here, this podcast is about putting a face (or voice) to youth homelessness in the hopes it’ll be harder to ignore and together we can be the solution.

Every other Friday a new episode will air with a new voice sharing their story of surviving life on the streets AND how they got back on their feet. This show is all about answering these three questions: who are the homeless, how did they become homeless, and how do we begin to end homelessness? (except this one because we’re speaking to the fabulous Ms. Lon!)

There is nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles, and nearly 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I’m willing to bet these kids are a lot like you and me. The solution starts with us and I truly believe we’re better together.

PS: If you haven’t subscribed, rated or reviewed the podcast please do so now! Thanks, friends! I’ll see you back on the radio in two weeks for another voice to meet.

The One With Luke (Not Skywalker) – Someone Like You

Hello friends! By the time you’re reading this, I will be just waking up from the annual Sleep Out fundraiser I participate in each year that benefits homeless youth programs at Covenant House California. If you’d like to support my Sleep Out campaign for homeless youth, you can donate here. There’s still time! ❤

Every other Friday a new episode will air with a new voice sharing their story of surviving life on the streets AND how they got back on their feet. This show is all about answering these three questions: who are the homeless, how did they become homeless, and how do we begin to end homelessness?

This week on Someone Like You we meet Luke. A great dude who was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a small stint in Missouri. He was a part of the Jump Rope Club and was a running back on his high school’s football team.

Luke was a pleasure to talk to, I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had joking back and forth with him. There was so much laughter, he’s a good dude. That being said, he’s walked a lot of life and I want you to hear his story. After building a relationship with someone in the music industry he hopped on a plane to L.A. to chase his dreams.

It went south moments after he landed in the entertainment capital of the world.

The interview format is a little more casual this episode, trying to figure out what format is more pleasurable for those listening. So let me know how you like this episode layout versus the previous four episodes.

There is nearly 6,000 homeless youth searching for a safe place to sleep each night in Los Angeles, and nearly 4.2 million young people will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I’m willing to bet these kids are a lot like you and me. The solution starts with us and I truly believe we’re better together.

Welcome to the fifth episode of Someone Like You. I’m glad you’re here. 

PS: If you haven’t subscribed, rated or reviewed the podcast please do so now! Thanks, friends! I’ll see you back on the radio in two weeks for another voice to meet.


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

The One With Eustolia – Someone Like You Podcast Ep. 4

Like I promised last week, we are back to regular programming and this week we meet another Covenant House California Alumni, Eustolia. She is now twenty-five years old and living in her very own apartment while attending Pasadena City College for her AA in welding.

For those who may have forgotten: Someone Like You is about putting a face to the homeless and answering these three questions: Who are the homeless? How did they become homeless and how do we begin to end homelessness? 

There are 4.2 million young people in our country who will experience a form of homelessness within the next year and I believe we can make a difference by learning who these young people were and their story.

We all have a beginning that influences the rest of our story. Be sure to listen to this week’s episode and subscribe on Stitcher, Apple, and Spotify.

Here is a little sample of what you’ll hear on this week’s episode to get you started:

Eustolia, can you share what was your worst night on the street what you remember the most? It was back when I was still a minor and using drugs. I would stay in the hallways of apartment buildings and I still remember the pain in my back, I feel the cold, and then having to go to school the next day. I couldn’t go home you know? All the fights with my Dad and other stuff just made me feel like I needed to suck it up.

Her father never provided a stable or safe living environment her whole childhood. They were constantly bouncing from house to house because rent could never be paid and she was placed around in different foster care homes before she got put into the juvenile detention system. 

There’s a pattern here. A lack of parental and adult guidance. She never had a stable living arrangement and her father constantly let her down in a big way, I’m not talking like he missed one of her soccer games I’m talking like her safety was never his concern. When you have a parent who can’t provide for you and you as the child can see the decisions they’re making aren’t smart then it’s incredibly difficult to understand the world around you.

Not to mention, she attended a poor school where funding was low and the teachers were more like babysitters than educators, who didn’t care about the success of their students, regardless because they were under the assumption they’d end up dead or in jail. That’s a tough realization to notice as a kid. She needed an adult who believed in her.

Listen to episode four The One With Eustolia, to hear more of her story and where/what she’s doing today.

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play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

The FYI About Someone Like You

Okay, it’s time to spill the beans on what I’ve been working on the past 6 weeks…

I’m starting a podcast called Someone Like You and every week I’ll be interviewing a young person who’s experiencing life-changing opportunities thanks to a nonprofit.

At the 30,000 foot perspective, the podcast is about starting a conversation to address the epidemic of youth homelessness across America and specifically within Orange County, California.

I live here and hear the bias’ people perpetuate on a semi-regular basis. It’s important to understand no child asks to be homeless, and that the leading causes of youth homelessness include abandonment, mental health issues, and abuse.

Children don’t get to pick their parents and nobody makes you take a test before becoming one.

Per a report conducted by Covenant House on a single night in January 2016, there were over 35,000 unaccompanied kids out on the streets, and 89 percent of those 35K were between the ages 18 and 24, the remaining 11 percent were under the age of 18.

This isn’t okay.

Two years ago I participated in Covenant House California’s Sleep Out fundraiser, a national movement made up of individuals who commit to spending one night out on the streets while raising money that goes directly to getting kids off the streets, and ever since that ONE night I won’t stop trying to get the word out.

You can read about my first experience out on the streets of Los Angeles, here.

I didn’t understand. I grew up in NYC and was taught to not make eye-contact, never give anyone free money, and that a bum wanted to be on the streets or was probably there for a quick buck or addicted to drugs.

The common thread I learned that night at Covenant House was that nobody asked or deserved to be homeless. Instead, I realized it was easier to digest if they had ‘done something’ to be there because it made them less human, and didn’t affect me as much if there was a reason they were on the streets.

Almost 10 years ago I was almost homeless and about to be living out of my car with my dog before a friend stepped in and let me stay on her couch for a month while my financials got back in order.

I have never felt so shitty or like a huge whopping failure in my whole life. This podcast will hopefully work my way out of a job because I don’t want youth homelessness to be a thing. We’re all a few missed paychecks away from facing the same situation.

Let’s get to the root of the problem. Nobody deserves to be homeless. So join me as I put a face to these nonprofits working hard to provide free primary health care, legal assistance, education and job training programs for people who need help getting off the streets.

What if the kid who can cure cancer is out there now, sleeping on the streets, and just needs a little love and helping hand to put him back on track to saving the world.

Cultivate it.

Keep a lookout for Someone Like You podcast, nothing like it has been done so join me in changing the world one podcast at a time. I’ll be sure to update when the first few episodes are live!