Robin Kaarlsen headshot

Robin Kaarlsen

Robin graduated from Cornell University (Marketing & Management) in 1988. She interned on Wall Street and was licensed in insurance and securities. She worked as a retail buyer, floor manager, and assistant store manager until she had identical twin daughters. At that point, she became a full-time mom and volunteer. When the girls were older, Robin attended graduate school and earned a second undergraduate major in English along with certification as a K-12 teacher. When her daughters left for college in 2011, Robin moved to Texas to finally be with the love of her life, Bryan.

Bryan used to joke that Robin was “Executive Director of Everything” in the business and at home. Thanks to tremendous growth and additional staff, she is no longer actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Her focus is on establishing a 501(c)(3) charity, “Prism Communities,” which will create and operate long-term living campuses with on-site services for adults with autism and other severe disabilities.

Robin became passionate about developing these communities while she and Bryan were caring for Bryan’s autistic son, who aged out of his residential school at age 21. Navigating the systems in place for the intellectually disabled and mentally ill, especially those on the autism spectrum, is frustrating. Although he now lives in a group home where he receives the therapies and services to which he is entitled, they would like to see a more comprehensive program for their son, and know there are thousands of families with young adults in a similar situation.

Robin wondered why there are no assisted living communities, where all the residences, medical facilities and activities are centralized to serve this extremely unique population. She found there are a few organizations working to develop independent living models for higher functioning young adults with autism (but nothing like a full-service campus) and is learning from them about the laws and processes.

The organization is currently in the establishment phase: convening a board of directors across several key areas and beginning fundraising. We look forward to sharing more as the charitable organization grows and begins to meet the needs of some of our most fragile citizens.