With the same energy and commitment he demonstrated as a Lafayette student, Reco Collins ’05 is making a difference as an involved community member, business leader, and volunteer. Recently, three organizations honored him with prestigious recognitions for his service and leadership.
Reco, vice president of public finance at PNC Bank in Baltimore, Md., received the 2011 Lowell B. Mason Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in April. The organization provides entrepreneurship curriculum to students in middle and high schools in low-income communities around the country.
Collins, an economics and business graduate, was also recognized as an “emerging leader” by the Associated Black Charities (ABC) of Baltimore in June and was selected for participation in Leadership Maryland’s Class of 2011.
Collins’ connection with NFTE began five years ago through the organization’s program at Digital Harbor High School. At first, he served as a business plan coach and later broadened his involvement by volunteering as a competition judge, guest speaker, and member of the local Entrepreneurs’ Council.
Collins says his work with Digital Harbor’s students reminds him of his own struggles at their age.
“Having grown up in inner-city Atlanta, I was excited to get involved with NFTE. It presented the perfect opportunity for me to reach out and lift up kids with a background similar to my own,” he says. “I enjoy spending time with the students, discussing their business plans for upcoming competitions, and, more importantly, talking to them about their future plans. It’s rewarding to see them successfully present their business plans—win or lose—because they have taken a step in the right direction and are defying expectations.”
Earlier this year, Collins discussed his involvement with NFTE in an interview with NFTE Director of Volunteer Services Marcia Tyler.
At Lafayette, Collins overcame obstacles and reached for loftier goals, making a mark on the College and his classmates. “For a year, football was my life. But when I got injured and could no longer play, I still wanted to make a difference on campus,” he remembers. “So I stepped out of my comfort zone, interacting with others and giving them all respect. This allowed me to appreciate other cultures, to view myself as more than one thing, and to dream bigger.” His efforts to promote cross-cultural relationships were recognized with the College’s David A. Portlock Award.