Robin Williams left the world with many fond memories, he brought joy, hope, laughter, and compassion into the world through his ability to make people laugh. His legacy can never be questioned.
Born on April 11, 1983, Zak is the only child that Robin had with his first wife, Valerie Velardi. In 2008, Zak married Alex Mallick, the executive director of Re:store Justice, and an advocate of criminal justice reform. Unlike his father and siblings, Zak isn't part of the showbiz community.
Hollywood kids often follow in the parent's footsteps, or live the social life without ever doing any work at all. Robin's son Zak has done neither, but he has followed in his father's philanthropic footsteps in a way that you would never guess.
The San Franciscan, who holds an MBA from Columbia University, is currently focused on society's least privileged people: prisoners. Williams co-teaches a weekly class to incarcerated individuals at San Quentin State Prison.
Zak, along with an inmate named "Wall Street", who is serving a life sentence, are both teaching inmates the value of financial literacy, and financial independence.
Much of the street crime in the United States is currently motivated by money. Those who have it want more of it, those that have none will do whatever it takes to put food on the dinner table. Many times this will lead to an individual being locked up for an extended period of time. If only they realized that there were other ways to remain financially solvent without resorting to illegal activities.
After the sudden and tragic passing of his father, Zak was looking for ways to give back to the community. He began looking at various rehabilitation programs that are offered behind bars.
Zak Williams teamed up with "Wall Street" to teach the classes, which have a waiting list of inmates wanting to participate. "Spending time at San Quentin, giving back, and trying to add value to people's lives is something that's been very helpful for me personally," said Williams.
It's the kind of noble effort that we can imagine his father, a dedicated philanthropist and humanitarian, would have backed with the dazzling humility we came to know so well. Williams agrees, saying, "I think he would have loved the program and loved participating; we know he's there in their spirit."
Curtis Carroll, aka, "Wall Street" is currently serving time in San Quentin for murder, and armed robbery. You wouldn't expect someone with that "resume" to be intelligent towards stock markets and world markets (hell, I am a two time college graduate and I have no idea what he is talking about), but when he was interviewed by CNN Money, he said one of the most intelligently common sense statements I have ever read:
"If I had a drug problem, or an alcohol problem, I would go to NA, AA, but I have a money problem. ... I believe that financial education is the cure for guys who are chasing money where they're willing to kill a guy for 20 bucks."
The solution seems too simple, education.