Randy Henry has witnessed the journey that has made Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan a staple in the community. The producer for Detroit’s WDIV-TV Local 4 was one of the Lloyd H. Diehl Club’s original members. Despite the changes made to the building over the years, Henry says he can easily recall those early days at Diehl.
Constructed right after the 1967 riots, the Diehl Club was built for safety with no windows. According to Henry, that didn’t stop him or his fellow Club members from shining. “For me, there were no problems not having any windows in here,” says Henry. “I feel [like] it just kept me from what was going on out there.”
Henry says that revisiting his old stomping grounds has become an important goal. The interactions with the youth are rewarding for him, as he inspires current Club Members with advice on working towards their futures and taking advantage of the diverse career pathways programs offered at the Club.
Henry was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1976, but unfortunately did not make the team’s final cut. This set him on a path to learning what other job options worked best for him. As he found his calling, he pursued teaching high school and coaching for community college teams.
As founder of the B.A.L.L. Foundation, Henry has expanded that personal mission by providing learning environments that enhance life skills through basketball camps, training classes, and lectures like the one he gave to a group of Club members.
“I’ve had a number of careers, but TV was my passion,” he said to a group of Diehl youth. “I didn’t find out about it until late in life, so right now you guys are getting the chance to find out about the film business. [This can] help you get a start on it.”
Recently, Henry has been acting in “Coachable,” a new film being shot at Diehl. In it he portrays a father figure to one of the characters. Mimicking his on-screen persona, he offered advice to the Club Members. His primary message was to focus on multiple career paths, as opposed to sticking to only one idea.
“I want to let these kids know that it’s never too early to explore your career,” says Henry. “I’m trying to get these babies who are 8, 9 and 10 to start visiting people … and getting a job shadow. Once you find out what work [comes] with that job, you might not like it.”
Henry used the examples of the recently-passed director, screenwriter and producer, John Singleton and rapper, writer and actor, Ice Cube – who recently hosted his Young3 basketball tournament at Diehl. Henry pointed out that neither man focused on one, sole career plan. He also discussed the power of working behind the scenes, instead of searching to be the star of the show.
These jobs are equally as important being in front of the camera. In many cases, they are even more essential. There are plenty of opportunities within the entertainment industry that people do not take the time to learn and understand.
This is the very gap that the Sean Anderson Foundation is helping to close in partnership with BGCSM through their powerful Mogul Prep learning curriculum providing our members with hands-on training for career opportunities behind the scenes in the entertainment industry.
“Just try everything. If it doesn’t land for you, you’ll have your second, third or fourth career,” Henry says. “Don’t just get stuck on wanting to be an NBA player, because that is where I was at. And then somebody told me, ‘Look, man. You might not make it. You better have plan B, C and D.’”
Our career exploration programs introduce our members to careers with earning potential, while preparing and empowering them to become productive, caring, and responsible citizens.