Aaron Collins

aaron collins headshot

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Location: ​Knoxville, Tennessee

Please describe your activity with any Recovery Dharma sangha, including local, affinity,inter-sangha, circle, or volunteer with the board. (Affinity: some members of Recovery Dharmacreate sangha groups around identities such as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Ally (LGBTQIA) Women; or interests such as recovery around process addictions, food or codependency. Circle: an independent volunteer work group)

Currently I lead a regular Monday meditation. I started attending Recovery Dharma/Refuge Recovery meetings when I was in a treatment center, and I became hooked. I have been very active in my local sangha. I attend our business meetings and volunteer when the opportunity arises. I’ve made flyers, written a proposal to get in-person meetings started again, bought cleaning supplies for our in-person meetings,and done whatever else I can do to serve. I identify as a member of the LGBTQIA community; however, here in Knoxville we do not have any affinity meetings for Dharma. I would love to see us grow to have at least one meeting a month relating to affinity. I have some non-profit board experience as a community garden chair in Bloomfield, NJ.

Briefly describe your professional/livelihood history in a narrative and upload a resume or copy it below. Reminder that many life experiences can be applied to the work of a Board.

I have worked since my teens from grocery store bagboy to a construction laborer. After graduating from college I began my career in social service work. I started as a behavior assistant for at-risk youth and now I work as a service coordinator for children birth to 3 years. Additionally, I served 12 years in the US Army Reserves and briefly worked as a volunteer coordinator for a large non-profit Remote Area Medical (RAM). Throughout my life I have volunteered for my church, school, and community and service to others is a big part of what makes me and I hope to continue that through service to Recovery Dharma.

Are there other special or unique skills that you believe would benefit serving as a board member? (please see​​ announcement​) 

Relating to the announcement under the header Fundraising, my experience as a Volunteer Coordinator at RAM would be an asset to the board. As a volunteer coordinator I recruited, organized, and managed hundreds of volunteers and around a dozen summer interns. In addition, I have board experience, serving for one year on the board of Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center in Bloomfield, NJ. In general, I consider myself a ‘get it done’ kind of person and I work hard to accomplish tasks.

Please use the space below to share a brief (300 words or less) statement about yourself. The questions below are offered as prompts for topics you might find helpful. We do not anticipate that you will answer each one.

I participate in both Recovery Dharma and other recovery programs for my recovery journey. I am 9+ months sober and currently working on a recurring theme “just being”. I have embraced this theme and have dropped the word bored from my vocabulary. I am learning to “just be”.

I have a basic knowledge of Buddhism and do not identify as a Buddhist. However, I admire the Buddha’s teachings and practice the Four Noble Truths and Eight-Fold Path. When dealing with conflict, I try to use wise speech and wise action and have been told that I am a calming presence during conflict. I am very good at engaging, reflective listening, rolling with resistance, and staying focused.

As a queer person I have a good understanding of diversity and equality and as a socialworker I have ongoing training that keep my skills refreshed to work with diverse populations. My specific interest is in recovery within the LGBTQIA community and making sure my community has a safe and accepting program that works.

I am a vocal promoter of Recovery Dharma and I share about our meetings whenever the opportunity arises and encourage the giving of dana and book sales at meetings. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve and expand projects that I am involved in. I am a social butterfly and often find that I have lots of resources to turn to when needing help.

Recovery Dharma has changed my life and the lives of members of my local sangha. If elected, I will strive to ensure the stability and livelihood of Recovery Dharma as the program grows. I will be a hands-on, energetic, and a positive influence on the team.