by Adam Angel, Deputy Director, LAYC/MMYC Montgomery County

It has been two years this month since Rickey Robinson joined LAYC, and since then I have been eager to write about him. I cannot share enough about this man. His students come to him because of his ability to listen, and they return to him because he energizes them to push forward each day. His ability to make students feel heard has been a natural talent of his since day one. His ability to feel intense compassion might deter another person from this work, but Rickey, with his immensely loving heart, is able to make those in front of him feel a weight lifted off their shoulders. You can often hear the echo of his cackling laugh down the hall, and youth are sure to be involved. His humor and lightheartedness provide the comic relief our staff and students need, reminding us that we cannot take ourselves too seriously.

This alone would have been worth highlighting, but it is Rickey’s masterful work with students, both before they arrive and after they request support, that has been a joy to watch develop. He has become a bank of knowledge for our youth and our site staff; he is able to share information about available resources and help navigate just about any challenge. Rickey’s growth in learning our processes and executing our program operations from recruitment and referral, to data collection and finances amazes those who see him take on these responsibilities while maintaining the humor and the warmth he extends to our youth. If you spend time at our site you will be sure to meet Rickey in short order. He is well known and well liked. Much is made of his always-commented-upon fashion choices, sleek and daring; I believe they are a metaphor for his freedom. He shares with us all this freedom, and the joy that it exudes, and we are better for it. I feel lucky to be a part of a team that he would want to be on and know that the youth are in good hands with a man they can come to for support, direction and raucous love.

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