Imagine having to dig through trash to find a bite to eat… This was the harsh reality that writer and biologist Ren Corado had to face during his childhood in Guatemala. Rene started working as a shoeshine boy at 8 years old in order to help provide for his family but when that wasn’t enough he would have to beg for food or even compete with stray dogs for scraps of food in the town’s dump. Living around poverty and limited options for a brighter future gave him the determination to search for a better life. He came to California in 1981 alone, not knowing any English, and with only a sixth grade level of education but a heart full of dreams. He worked different jobs as a gardener, painter, dishwasher, cook, house cleaner, welder, wallpaper installer, etc. He started working as a gardener in a museum and enjoyed seeing the work conducted by the biologists who worked there. With the support of the museum’s director Rene started night school to pursue a degree in Biology. He is now an ornithologist (branch of biology which studies birds) and the Collection Manager at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, the museum with the largest collection of eggs and nests of bird of the world.
Rene is the author of the book “El Lustrador” (Shoeshine Boy) in which he tells us about his life story and the many obstacles he faced to achieve his dream of a better life. Rene hopes that this book will inspire people to achieve their dreams like he did.
“If you believe that your life is too hard, read my book and see how hard I worked, started on zero, never gave up and at the end I achieved my dream. It is a story of hope.” – Rene Corado
Hear more about Rene’s story at our 4th Annual Homeownership Fair!