Blog interview series: Brandon Randall

20170716_234706.jpgBrandon Randall is an Eastside resident of Indianapolis, originally from Joplin, Missouri. He attended Pike School and attended a year of Purdue University. That didn't quite work out, so he attended Ivy Tech and then IUPUI.

Brandon holds an Associate's degree and a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice, focusing on the juvenile justice system and youth advocacy. He currently serves as the program manager for VOICES Corp Day Reporting program. He is responsible for oversight of daily programming, researching behavior management approaches and building capacity as an alternatives to detention program. His previous role was as the Parent Involvement Educator for an Indianapolis Public School (IPS) elementary school.

Brandon has been consistent in youth advocacy and working to find opportunities for young people to display and implement their leadership abilities. Brandon also serves in multiple community-based organizations. He serves as the program director for the Bloom Project and the Community Liaison for DON'T SLEEP.

How long have you lived in Indy?

I am from Joplin, Missouri, but I have lived in Indy since the second grade. Essentially, my whole life.

Why have you focused on using your skills in the nonprofit sector?

I started this work at the Marion County Juvenile Center in 2007. Working with those young people had a life-altering effect on my life. They created the shift in my life that allowed me to start looking through a different lens. They were necessary change agents.

How did you find your current position?

I currently serve as the program manager for VOICES Corp Day Reporting. I was working for IPS when I received a phone call from a friend (and current coworker) who told me about the role and suggested that I have a conversation with the organization's founder. That conversation was very informal and felt like it was destined to take place. I started working with VOICES shortly after.

What would you say to another young professional considering a nonprofit job?

This work has to be personal. Through the red tape, the politics, the nonsense, it can be emotionally draining. But, when it's personal, it's a part of you. You always remember why you started in the first place. I would encourage young professionals to understand the importance of self-care. It is hard to focus on community work if you have lost focus on yourself.

If you could learn a brand new skill, what would it be?FB_IMG_1500262615640.jpg

I would say learn another language. Practically speaking, I want to strengthen my Spanish-speaking abilities, which are minimal. But on a personal note, I would love to learn Italian. I'm not sure why. It was the first one to pop in my head.

If you were an inanimate object, what would you be and why?

I would most definitely be a camera. This would allow me to capture the most intimate aspects of the mind and the heart from a broad community, reflecting the subjectivity of "art" and "love".

What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I definitely want to go back to grad school to get a Master's degree so I can teach at the collegiate level. Also, I want to have my own consulting firm where I can travel across the United States talking to young people about leadership, advocacy and organizing.

Share a little-known treasure of Indianapolis with us.

It might not be a "little-known" treasure, but La Parada on the Near Eastside has thee best food and their staff are amazing! I highly recommend it!

Most important question: If you won a million dollars today, what would you do with it?

One million???? Honestly, I would pay off my debt so I wouldn't have that to worry about. I would invest into young people who are making a difference in the community. I would build my mom a house on a lake, like I promised when I was 7 years old. The rest would be invested or donated to a variety of deserving causes. And yes, I would still go to work each day. Like the song says, "Mo' money, mo' problems." So, you can catch me at the 9 to 5, building legacies with the young people I work with!


welive.jpgWant to support Brandon's work?
Brandon started his road in advocacy after consistently losing young people he worked with to gun violence. He started out by building his network, hosting several community rallies and peace walks, This led to building with other community members who were focusing on mentoring and advocacy. He has now spent 10 years working with youth and advocating for their leadership and utilization of their voice.
To support Brandon's work, support the youth. One of the young people that Brandon has recently collaborated with is Brandon Warren. Mr. Warren is a soon-to-be senior at Warren Central High School. After the loss of a teammate and close friend, he started an initiative called We LIVE Indy, working to build unity against youth violence. Learn more about his work here.

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