For the past 3 and a half years, Robert David has been employed with the city of Danville’s city manager’s office as the Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator. While in this position, he created the award-winning gang prevention and intervention collaborative system, Project Imagine. David is an Air Force veteran with over 25 years of strategic planning and community development experience. He enjoys generating and building relationships, managing projects from concept to completion, designing collaborative strategies, and coaching individuals to success.
David earned a Masters in Addiction and Professional Counseling and is currently a PhD candidate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is the author of Stand up and Breathe: 4 Steps to Recover from Failure and Gangs vs Kingdom: Battle for the Next Generation, both of which have been utilized in youth and adult programing related to gang violence, community mobilization, and developing collaborative systems. David also co-authored Bigger than Black and Blue: Candid conversations about race, equity and community collaborations with Chief Scott Booth of the Danville Police Department.
In his younger days, David was a professional natural bodybuilder and held many titles, some of which were Mr. Natural Universe and 2-times Mr. USA. He been married for 23 years and has 5 children.
Showcase caught up with David to discuss the community.
Showcase Magazine: How do you define community involvement?
Robert David: I define community involvement as being connected to a group of individuals through understanding their expressed needs and strengths while using your personal skills, passion, and influence to assist those individuals to achieve community goals.
SM: What inspires you to get involved in the community?
RD : My inspiration comes from being raised in a home where my family would help people in the neighborhood. I remember as a youth being instructed to take plates of food to the elderly man down the street to make sure he was eating. I remember my mother doing clothing alterations services for community members and being sensitive to their financial situation. You could say that community involvement it is in my blood.
SM: How do you balance life, work, and community involvement?
RD: I maintain my balance by not giving attention to irrelevant circumstances. I focus on the things that matter and the things that will yield positive outcomes. I use this philosophy in every area of my life. I’m passionate about empowering others to live their best version of themselves, so I do not have an off/on switch for work and home, but I do manage how much energy I give people and circumstances based on its relevance to the purpose of myself and others.
SM: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
RD: I have received many words of wisdom in my life but one that has served me well in every aspect of my life comes for Les Brown. When I was a teenager, my father gave me a Les Brown cassette tape (yes, I’m that old). Les stated that “Used to bees don’t make no honey.” It means that you can’t rest on what you have done, keep being creative.
SM: Who are your real-life heroes and why?
RD: My heroes are those who sacrifice and persevere to achieve their dreams when everything in their life has said, “No,” they continued to say, “Yes.”
SM: What is it about Danville that makes it special to you?
RD: Danville is a blank canvas awaiting those who are willing to bring a creative brush of new ideas. I love Danville because it really is the Comeback City. My experience in Danville has been amazing.The city has opened its arms to those who dare to disregard the old negative narrative and embrace a newfound energy.
SM: What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
RD: I am looking forward to the growth of the city and the increase momentum of collaborative systems.
SM: Do you have a favorite quote, and if so, what is it?
RD: “Unleash Your Inner Bigness.” This means that everyone comes to this Earth with a purpose. That purpose is where greatness resides, and it’s bigger than your current situation. So, tap into your purpose and unleash your greatness.
SM: How do you recharge? What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?
RD: I recharge by exercising, watching movies, and enjoying my family
SM: What is your idea of happiness?
RD: Happiness to me is being able to live an authentic life. Being able to be your genuine self regardless of the audience and circumstance.
SM: What are your favorite things to do in Danville?
RD: One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies with my son and friend. I also enjoy “people watching “with a cup of Chia tea at Links. I have also enjoyed the comedy shows at district 319.
SM: What are your visions for the future of Danville?
RD: My vision for Danville is that individuals, agencies, and organizations continue and increase collaborative efforts, so as the city grows, it also grows in unity.