Age 33: Academic Counselor, Springfield Technical Community College
Kamari Collins knows firsthand the importance of after-school programs. When he was a kid, they kept him busy with opportunities to play basketball, learn about business, and achieve his career and academic goals.
After-school programs had such an impact, in fact, that Collins has since made a career out of giving back. “Knowing how various programs helped me, I wanted others to get some of the same benefits,” he said.
He started early by coaching. When he was only 18, Collins and his father organized a traveling AAU basketball team for youths, coordinating games throughout the states. “Sports can motivate young people to want success,” he told BusinessWest. “I know — it had that impact on me.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Sport Studies and a master’s in Human Services, Collins joined Springfield Urban League, an organization that supports minorities. He stayed nine years, eventually becoming director of the Youth and Education Services program.
In 2005, when Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) offered him the position of academic counselor, Collins made the switch.
“I do more than simply offer academic advice,” he said of his current role. “I try to help the students be as successful as they can be.”
Extending his influence to the basketball court, Collins also serves as academic coach for STCC’s men’s basketball team, reminding team members to keep their eyes on academic goals as well as the ball. “You can’t have one without the other,” he said.
In his spare time Collins serves on several boards, including New Leadership Charter School, Springfield College of Human Services, and the Pioneer Valley Health Education Center, to name just a few.
“I was fortunate in my life to have people who gave back to me,” he said. “And now I get a deep, personal satisfaction from doing the same.”