At PYB, we are dedicated to serving young people in the Philadelphia region by providing them with high-quality, holistic development opportunities to achieve their full potential as students, athletes, and responsible and engaged citizens. For PYB’s board member, Robin Thomas, this commitment to bettering the lives of others and communities is very familiar, as it is a personal and enduring part of her own life.
Growing up in the Wynnefield section of West Philadelphia, Robin’s parents instilled in her and her brother the values of helping others, as well as the importance of an education. Both of her parents were a testament to this notion through their daily work; her father served as a marine and a member of the Philadelphia Police Department for over 25 years, while her mother worked within the government in social security administration for over 30 years. Through Robin’s childhood observations and experiences, she grew her own passion to help people, communities, and children.
Robin has worked in the nonprofit sector for several years and currently serves as the Director of Human Resources at COMHAR, a social services agency. “Human Resources, at its core, speaks to what I love to do,” Robin states, “Through recruitment I am able to find quality and caring staff to work with the individuals we serve, as well as expose newer professionals to opportunities to implement what they have learned in school.”
Notably, she also understands that ‘help’ itself can take on various forms. “There are many ways to provide a service,” Robin says, “It can be through exposure, networking, or sharing of information. Many times people think that that service is only financial.”
In addition to her professional life, Robin is a mother of two children, Levan, a sophomore at Temple University studying marketing, and Lea, a seventh grader at the French International School. Like her parents had impressed upon her, Robin encourages her children to work hard in the classroom and to explore their own passions. While Lea is a dancer, enjoys language, and is bilingual, Levan loves basketball and is a member on the men’s team at Temple University, like his father, Levan Alston Sr.
Through Robin’s experiences with her son and basketball, she has a deep respect for the power of the game in the life of a young person. “So much information is learned through basketball,” Robin states, “Leadership, resiliency, being flexible, teamwork, commitment are skills that can be transferred into the classroom and into everyday life. As an HR professional, I have enjoyed recruiting and working with people who have played a sport and are athletes.”
When Robin heard about PYB and its mission for youth development, she directly identified with the potential of the programming’s impact, and enthusiastically joined the movement by becoming a member of our board of directors.
“There is so much I have learned through basketball going through it with my son that I would like to share with other mothers,” Robin states, “Being involved with PYB will give me the opportunity to speak with some of the program’s parents and kids.”
In addition to the educational component of PYB’s programming, Robin more specifically appreciates that the summer camps are targeted to engage children from all over the Philadelphia region. Robin recognizes the value of not only developing lasting friendships with other children, but the innate benefits that accompany such a diverse setting.
“Being exposed to other children from different parts of the city and suburbs provides an opportunity for children to make connections and learn from one another,” Robin says, “My son has formed friendships that started at a camp or program that now have expanded for years.”
As a mother, a connector, and a professional, Robin brings several perspectives and a wealth of knowledge to the boardroom. PYB is privileged to have such a dynamic and genuine person a part of PYB’s family and we look forward to continuing to serve Philadelphia’s young people and communities together.
By Diana Venezia, Fund Development Coordinator