Robert Collins gets his love of community honestly. For ten years, his mother often volunteered as a “cheerleader mom” and den mother to a group of young boys scouts. As his community was rocked by unemployment, lack of access to opportunities, and the crack cocaine epidemic, he never forgot those early lessons he learned from his mother.
Formerly incarcerated, Robert spent much time in the California prison system. During that time, he began to reflect on his upbringing, which caused him to think more positively. That shift had a rippling effect. He started to educate himself. He started to help other incarcerated men. He began counseling and solving problems between the administrators of the prison and the inmates. The responsibility that came with this role was demanding, but he understood that the only way things would change was by being part of the process of solving them.
While in prison, learning about himself, he simultaneously earned his A.A. degree. This accomplishment encouraged him to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice/Human Services when he was released. After realizing who he had become, he knew he wanted to continue to give back to society. As a leader, counselor, advisor, and organizer, Community Coalition (where he started working as a canvasser with the Civic Engagement team in 2020) was the perfect fit for Robert.
Fun Fact: Robert enjoys playing pinochle when he is advocating for his community.