Actress and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete uses her platform to advocate for the autism community
For many celebrities, fame isn’t just about being on the big screen, performing on stage, or scoring a winning goal. It’s about using their likeness to raise awareness about different social justice topics or rare medical conditions or to help underserved communities. From NBA champion LeBron James to bestselling author JK Rowling, celebrities have donated their time, money and resources to charity. Candid reported in 2019 that donations from foundations rose 2.5%, to about $ 75 billion. In the past two years, foundations have accounted for 17% of total donations.
Holly Robinson Peete, actress and philanthropist, uses her platform to raise awareness and bring resources to the autism community and help the community find jobs and leadership positions.
Robinson Peete and the HollyRod Foundation have partnered with Delivering Jobs, a campaign create pathways to a million employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental differences by 2025. It lays a foundation for sustainability for inclusive workplaces through consumer awareness and community activation, skills development and job readiness, and workforce engagement and readiness. The founding partners of the campaign are Autism Speaks, Best Buddies and Special Olympics, in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF).
“My son has a job with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the World Series champions,” says Robinson Peete. “We’re so lucky to be able to have this job. It gave this boy a purpose, a salary, self-esteem and friends. He never had any friends growing up and now he has a whole family. This is all you want for your autistic child; you want them to feel included and to be able to stand up for themselves. [Delivering Jobs] is so exciting to be able to speak up and advocate for organizations and big companies to try to encourage them to hire these young people. The unemployment rate hovers around 9% in this community. This is where our main focus is right now. And we have something called RJ’s Place where we train some of these young people for jobs so they’re ready when they have their meaningful employment opportunity. “
Robinson Peete’s acting career blossomed at the age of six. She landed a role in Sesame Street first episode alongside his father, Matt Robinson, who played the original Gordon. She then threw for 21, rue du saut.
“I just graduated from college,” she recalls. “I was broke looking for a job. I remember going for this job in front of two other girls, who I just thought were so much prettier and more talented and had bigger CVs than me. I remember driving my Honda without hearing brakes … I ended up getting this role. It was the best feeling. It was such an eye-opening and game-changing moment. “
Reach the role on 21 rue du saut made her a staple actress in the industry, reserving roles on television including I’m hanging out with Mr. Cooper and Mike and Molly. She learned from a young age the importance of developing and nurturing relationships. She attributes this to her success for her longevity in the industry for over 40 years.
“Treat people nicely,” she shares. “Leave them fond memories of you… The secret to longevity and the ability to continue working after 50 years as a black actress is a big deal. I don’t take it for granted. I still am. constantly collecting data and information from people. I learned to listen as I got older. These are all things that continue to make people want to be with you and work with you. “
In 2015, she became part of the Hallmark Channel family. This month she played the lead actress on the Channel show The Christmas Doctor. In addition to starring in the film, she also produced the production. “When you’re an actress and you don’t introduce yourself and say your lines, and you really have an investment in the film, it makes you all the more invested and connected,” says Robinson Peete of the film. production of the film. spectacle. His next Hallmark movie is slated for release early next month, Christmas in Evergreen: the bells are ringing, is the fourth installment of the channel series Christmas at Evergreen.
In 1997, Robinson Peete, along with her husband, former NFL player Rodney Peete, established the HollyRod Foundation. Initially, the Foundation was inspired by the father of Robinson Peete, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. After confirming that their son has autism, the HollyRod Foundation has stepped up its efforts to help the autism community.
As Robinson Peete and the HollyRod Foundation continue to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, she explains how businesses can support the community:
- Donate to charities and foundations that support programs like the Delivering Jobs campaign. There are programs that provide training and resources to help community members find a role that best suits their abilities.
- Set a hiring quota for yourself. Making a conscious effort to recognize and hire in the community is an important step.
- Don’t think of hiring the community as a charity case. In some cases, these workers will prove to be your best employees.
“In my twenties,” Robinson Peete concludes, “I cared about everything anyone said. I had to tackle every problem. Now that I’m in my 50s, I’m able to let things go … is going to be okay with whatever you do. The more you can get that thick skin early on, the more quality of life you can develop. “