Big Rob, as he is affectionately referred to by the On The Count Crew, is the senior producer and audio engineer for the program. He has been with the show since leaving prison in 2004. He began his higher education in prison, attending Skidmore College majoring in sociology, and completed it in New York City once he was paroled. Rob earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Lehman College in the City University of New York (CUNY) and is currently working towards an MSW. He also holds certification from New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) in Pastoral Care and Counseling. While he was in prison, Rob became committed to understanding and developing policies, programs and practices for the alleviation of human suffering and the improvement of the quality of life of people in prison. This led him to an interest in health disparities, poverty, socioeconomic disadvantage, substance abuse, mental health, community violence, social injustice and racial discrimination. Upon his release from prison in 2004, after serving 15 years, Rob acquired employment with an HIV/AIDS service organization. He soon became a case manager and mentor for at-risk adolescents at the infamous Riker’s Island Correctional Facility in New York City. Ever increasing his knowledge of public health problems and rapidly becoming an excellent advocate for these issues, Rob was recruited to the position of Research Analyst with the prestigous Vera Institute of Justice. There he assisted in the collection, analysis and reporting of data regarding evidenced-based and outcome driven reentry program services. As a result of that work, he was named Criminal Justice chairperson for the New York City HIV Prevention Planning Group (PPG), where he served as the principal liaison officer between city, state and federal agencies who provide specialized services to the HIV-AIDS population. Currently Rob is the Senior Re-entry Case Manager at FACES New York HIRE Initiative. In that capacity he is responsible for assisting men and women recently released from prison to access a wide range of re-entry services which are available for them. Big Rob strongly believes that working with re-entry populations and their families provides a beacon of hope for men and women returning to the community after incarceration, who often need reminding that “there is life after prison and that the prison experience does not have to define them.” Rob made a promise to the many men he left behind in prison, and to himself, that he would represent them well if given the opportunity to do so. He certainly has.
Andre Ward, called “Imani” by his close friends and associates, is the Associate Producer for On the Count! He is a long time advocate and activist for at risk and vulnerable populations having criminal justice, chemical dependency and/or mental health issues. He is a workforce development professional, presently employed as the Program Coordinator for the Osborne Association’s Justice Community Program. Additionally he serves as a social worker at the Family Renaissance’s Center for Psychotherapy, where he provides individual, group and family therapy. Andre holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, from Medgar Evers College (CUNY), where he was secretary of the Black Social Work Club. He is a member and frequent lecturer of the National Association of Black Social Workers. He has been accepted to the advanced standing master’s degree program at Lehman College (CUNY) and will continue his studies in the fall 2013 term. In addition, Andre is a Senior Fellow with the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions, an independent public policy think tank and advocacy training center, formerly at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York (CUNY). At the Center for NuLeadership, Andre serves as an educator, researcher, lecturer and consultant to criminal justice agencies, community-based organizations and schools on youth leadership development. He is also a member of the National Trust for the Development of African Men and is an anger management workshop facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). He further provides substance abuse prevention counseling for the CMO Network Program where he did case management. In addition to being a published poet and author of a book, he is certified as an anger management specialist and mental health first aide instructor. He is a motivational speaker and Life Skills coach. Andre Ward resides in Brooklyn. He served 16 years in prison.
Steven (Humble) Mangual is the Latino Affairs Producer for On The Count. He holds an Associates Degree in Human Services from Bronx Community College and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Lehman College. He will continue his study towards a master’s degree in the fall of 2013. He has worked as a Case Manager advocating for the HIV/AIDS population. He is a member of the National Boricua Human Rights Network bringing awareness to the issue of Puerto Rican political prisoners and the colonial status of Puerto Rico. Steven was born and raised in the Bronx, in New York City, of Puerto Rican parents. In November, 1992, along with others, he was involved a "drug-turf" war with rival dealers. When the smoke cleared he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 8 to 24 years in prison. While in prison he became involved with all the educational and transformational programs that were available. He enrolled in the college program completing two semesters before the financial aid grants were eliminated in 1995. During his prison years, Humble met several college educated brothers who were part of a group called the Resurrection-Conciencia Study Group. They had developed an analysis referred to as The Non-Traditional Approach to Criminal and Social Justice that examined and explained the relationship between prisons and urban communities of color. They became his mentors. He studied under this group and eventually became one of its key instructors. This led to his journey, in 1996, towards self-empowerment and human justice. He became a Peer-Educator, teacher and Facilitator in several programs including the Alternative to Violence Program (AVP), Aggression Replacement Training (ART), The Latinos Unidos Organization, NAACP, Lifers and Long-Termers Committee, Conciencia Study Group, Prisoner's for AIDS Counseling and Education (PACE), Youth Assistance Program (YAP), and Pre-Release Transitional Services. During this time he also went through spiritual awakenings and was involved in religious and spiritual programs as a member of The Nation of Islam. Later, he returned to his faith of birth, completing his Confirmation with the Catholic Church, and falling in love with Liberation Theology. Steven was denied parole three times. He was finally released, on October 6, 2006, after completing 14 years in prison.