Team Spotlight July 16

Staying Focused Volunteer Spotlight: Dontrel Robinson

At 31-years-old and father to a five-year-old daughter, Dontrel “Monk” Robinson knows the importance of guiding a child. After living in various places across the country, Robinson recently returned to Benton Harbor with his fiancé to be closer to family and the home he has known all of his life. He graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 2002 and is excited to give back to his hometown, especially to the youth. “When the teens see me on the street, I want them to know that I’m someone they can count on,” he says.

In his second year as a volunteer coach with the Night Court program (a summer program that combines mentoring and basketball), Robinson has already experienced the tremendous impact the program is having on teens. “We saw one young man last year who was on a bad track. He was going to be dead or in jail. Night Court gave us the chance to surround him and help him get back on track. That young man graduated this year and is still involved in the program this summer. Now, we see great things for him in the future.”
Robinson attended Huron University in South Dakota on a basketball scholarship. That experience helped him grow and learn, something he wants to pass on to our community’s young people. Robinson particularly likes the mentoring activities that are a part of Night Court. “We are teaching them how to deal with real-life situations. These boys are becoming young men,” he says.

In addition to his job at Whirlpool Corporation, Robinson is also a recording artist with a strong music following throughout the Midwest and helps other local performers. His forthcoming album titled “My Side of the Bridge” features several songs inspired by his work with the teens at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor.

Robinson knows firsthand the effect of having a positive male role model, making him want to step in and help wherever he can. In addition to his father, Robinson credits his neighbor “Red” for setting an example he follows. “He is my one of my biggest role models and I don’t think he even knows it,” Robinson says of his neighbor. “I watch Red and how he takes care of and appreciates his yard and his vehicles. I take mental notes and apply them to my life, as I am dedicated to continuing to learn how to be a better man.” 

It is that role modelling and mentoring that Robinson hopes to give back to teen members at the Club. “I just want these kids to have opportunities. I want to see them be successful – not just in basketball – but, in life. I can see them as future college graduates, business owners and home owners. Most importantly, my hope for them is that they build strong families, which ultimately leads to stronger communities.” 

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