Isaac Collins joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester at the age of 14. He was placed at the Club in a youth informant position through Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Office and it was “love at first sight.” Isaac saw the various programs the Club offered and was drawn to the engaging environment. He knew he had to become a Club member.

Some of Isaac’s favorite programs at the Club included reading, Keystone Club – a national program based on community and leadership – and career exploration opportunities. In 1997, Isaac was recognized for his hard work and positive influence with the McCurdy Scholarship and Youth of the Year Award. Both accolades praised leadership, personal drive and academics. Isaac went on to become the runner-up in the Western New York Youth of the Year division.

One of Isaac’s greatest influences at the Club was Executive Director Mr. Mahoney. Many of their conversations started on the basketball court when Mr. Mahoney, an avid basketball player growing up, would give Isaac and other Club members different pointers. “He was very visible and involved and I admired how he interacted with people,” said Isaac. “I wanted to know more about what he did for the Club – behind the desk.”

Conversations between Mr. Mahoney and Isaac soon went beyond basketball and focused on career. “My Club experience and talks with Mr. Mahoney led me to want to work in human services,” said Isaac.

Isaac attended the University at Buffalo to study social work and human services and received his Master’s in Social Work. With experience working at Community Place, Hillside Family of Agencies and in the Rochester City School District (RCSD), Isaac went on to pursue his master’s in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester. He is now the assistant principal at Northeast Northwest College Preparatory School in the RCSD.

With a passion for the power of education, mental health counseling and wanting to serve his home community, Isaac continues to have a great impact on Rochester youth. Isaac hopes to help the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester with its mission of becoming a trauma-informed organization and serving the whole child. “The Club really transforms lives and I hope to help establish that missing piece so that the impact can be even greater.”