May We Introduce You?
Updated: May 12, 2021
Robbi Montoya, Executive Director
Robbi Montoya has been with Dorothy Day House since 2019. Prior to joining us, Robbi had worked in the Social Services field for 40 years.
Since the age of 15, Robbi has lived a life of service to other people. Her innate ability to connect and empathize with others was strengthened by her own personal struggle with addiction issues early in life – which ultimately led her into her career into social services and Dorothy Day House. She took the recommendation of a friend to relocate to Berkeley in 2009.
Recognizing the increase in the homeless population and finding herself driven to help those with the greatest needs, she found a part time position as People’s Park Coordinator, a position she still holds, and a position as the Albany Case Manager with Berkeley Food and Housing Project. She was quickly promoted as their Outreach program Supervisor. Eventually, when the HUB contract ran out, and she was searching for her next steps – she accepted an offer from Dorothy Day House to develop their new daytime drop-in program known today as the Berkeley Community Resource Center.
“The offer to work with Dorothy Day House was the result of relinquishing control and allowing the universe to lead me where I was most needed” says Montoya, “I am reminded every day of the impact this work has on people in our community.”
One specific instance that comes to mind for Montoya was a person that regularly came in for meals that felt too ashamed of their circumstance that they did not feel comfortable even speaking in front of staff.
“We were able to really connect with this person – I brought him food when I saw him outside of the office and the next day, when he came in, he finally said ‘Hi’ back,” she says, “That was a really powerful moment for me. It reinforced that a simple act of kindness can change a life”
In addition to leading a life of service to her community, Robbi is also an avid creative who enjoys Native American crafting, building and woodworking, and spending time with her family in her spare time.
“This isn’t just what I do,” says Montoya, “It’s who I am. It’s not about what I can do to help people, it’s about what we as a collective can do for those in need in our community”.