Chapter 1: Meet Randall

SMART Reading student, Randall, reads a children's book with his volunteer.

For Springfield second-grader, Randall, the classroom wasn’t a friendly place to be. His classmates teased and bullied him for being gay, and he looked for any opportunity to escape.

Chosen to participate in SMART Reading, Randall relished the chance to leave his classroom and dive into the world of books.

Some 20 years later, Randall vividly recalls his SMART Reading volunteer coming to the classroom, wearing the same outfit each week: glasses with transition lenses that would still be adjusting from the sunlight outside, a white polo shirt, and light-wash jeans. There his volunteer would stand in the doorway each week, Randall’s respite from the classroom…

Stay tuned for the next installment in Randall’s story.