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04/12/2021 |

Robin Sohnen, Chief of Innovation and Arts for Success Centers, has announced her retirement as of June 2021. In 1998, she founded Each One Reach One (EORO) to address escalating rates of incarceration among young people of color. She served as Executive Director for more than 20 years. Through arts, education, and life skills workshops, EORO empowered youth participants to think big, dream big, and re-map their future to divert from the adult criminal justice system and become positive members of the community. In 2019, Robin oversaw the merger of EORO with Success Centers.

Prior to starting EORO, Robin was a theater artist, event producer, and marketing specialist. In 1987, she founded and directed Centre 4 Events, a Los Angeles-based group that specialized in designing and producing live theater as a unique vehicle for companies to communicate their message to employees and clients. Clients included Unocal Corporation, Merrill Lynch Corporation, First Interstate Bank, Coca Cola, Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau, Reebok, Sega, Mindscape, Electronic Arts, and the Missing Children’s Foundation.In 1996, Robin became active in the anti-death penalty movement, producing artist Richard Kamler’s The Waiting Room, an interactive art installation of San Quentin’s death row waiting room. The installation opened in 2000 near the death chamber of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. In 1998, Robin met Mario Rocha, who received a double life sentence as a juvenile for a murder he did not commit. It was a play written by Mario that inspired Robin to create Each One Reach One. (Mario was ultimately exonerated, and his experience was documented in the 2006 film Mario’s Story).

Robin has served as a member of the Skyline College Administration of Justice Advisory Committee and received the 1999 New American Community Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for EORO’s creative efforts to reduce crime. From 2007 to 2009 Robin served as a Commissioner on the Commission on the Status of Women for San Mateo County.  Robin is also a contributing author for the award-winning book, Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Activism, Arts, & Educational Alternatives.

Career Highlights

In 1998, Robin Sohnen and Thomas Kellogg found Each One Reach One (EORO), a playwriting program for detention-based, justice-involved, and at-risk young people. In its 21-year history, EORO youth participants will write more than 100 original pieces of theater.

In 1999, EORO receives the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s New Community Award for efforts to reduce crime in the community.

In 2002, EORO expands its programming to include A Dream and a Plan for Tomorrow (ADAPT), offering one-on-one tutor-based GED study hall services inside San Mateo’s Youth Services Center.

In 2007, EORO secures state GED testing inside San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice Center, expands programming to four facilities in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, and is recognized by the San Francisco Foundation as one of 36 extraordinary Bay Area organizations that transform lives and strengthen communities.

In 2008, EORO launches Healthy Choices, a teen pregnancy prevention and life skills program for young women incarcerated in San Mateo County.

In 2008, EORO works closely with Assemblymember Gene Mullin to author and pass AB 622, enabling detained youth in California to study for the GED two hours per day during regular school time hours if they are 17 years of age and have fewer than 100 credits.

In 2009, EORO launches the Girls Expressive Painting Program in San Mateo County.

In 2010, EORO offers services in Santa Clara County detention facilities for the first time.

In 2010, 13, 14, 16, and 17, EORO is a finalist for the Coming Up Taller Awards, now known as the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards, which recognize exemplary arts and humanities programs that foster young people’s intellectual and creative development. Programs recognized by these awards provide opportunities for American youth to contribute to their communities through learning and practical experiences in humanities and arts endeavors.

In 2018, EORO works closely with Assemblymember Kevin Mullin to author and pass AB 1176, enabling detained youth in California to study for the GED full-time during the school day if they are 17 years of age and have fewer than 100 credits.

In 2019, Robin oversaw the merger of EORO with Success Centers, becoming Success Centers’ Chief of Innovation and Arts. She also facilitated Success Centers’ acquisition of The Imagine Bus Project, an organization that provides visual arts programs for detention-based youth.

In 2021, Robin announces her retirement.