About Maija Dambis Collins

    Maija grew up within the metropolitan district of New York City, only in the neighboring state of New Jersey. Receiving her B.A. in Social Studies from Trenton State College, Collins also received B.S. and M.S. equivalency/ permanent-teaching certificate in literary arts from Oneonta State College in New York. After spending her early professional years as an educator of youth, and for 10 years developing and training staff within the NYS Division for (incarcerated) Youth, including Persons-in-Need-of-Supervision (PINS), Collins has been self-employed as a certified astrology consultant and a published writer since 1999. Proud of her two brown belts in karate—a step below the coveted black belt—this ardent world traveler and hiker continued to write and to teach experiential astrology in her hometown of Albany, New York, until the relocation to the place of her birth, Riga, Latvia, in November of 2013.

This cultural changeover is described in the below video, except that it’s in Latvian. Of dual nationality, Maija has busily integrated herself in Riga’s metropolitan society, offering an English-discussion seminar to seniors, for four years sponsoring a woman’s club on various esoteric and travelogue themed sessions, and travelling throughout the European Union, and Turkey! Astrology continues to be an integral part of her life. This website is being remodeled because she appreciates those who visit here; and this is a way of showing her love for the subject and her love to you!
About Maija
Meeting My Calling
    In America, I reclaimed the meaning of “initiative,” as a former little refugee of a family of four that fled from war-torn, Pearl-of-the Baltic, Rīga—go ahead, Google that! In elementary school in East Paterson (now Elmwood), New Jersey--a poorer suburb sandwiched between the cities of Paterson and Hackensack, class numbers were high; therefore, little time was spent in acclimating me as a newcomer to studies and classroom procedures. A smart little girl, I was so well behaved in school that I was in my own bubble, a bubble that numbed the pain of being different and isolated. I made few waves back then. How different from the intrepid little girl in Displaced Persons (DP) camps in Germany, who was the games leader in her little circle and who knew how to use the badge of an older brother to her advantage. Consequently, my report cards with their checks for behaviors were all positive, except for the category of “Uses initiative!”

“Initiative? What is ‘initiative?’ ” Mamma Lucija would ask her firstborn, my brother Līgonis--soon to be nicknamed “Lee,” who had studied English in DP schools. “Once we figure it out, Maija can give her teacher this ‘initiative!’ “

But neither my brother’s response nor the dictionary was helpful. Too shy to ask the teacher for an explanation, that year I continued failing in “Initiative!”

Fast-forward to me as a fifteen-year old! Crisis struck our home, as mamma, weary from her factory work, became ill and was institutionalized almost a year with tuberculosis. Big brother away, attending the University of Pennsylvania, I was the caretaker, cooking meals, washing and ironing clothes--alone with Papa John with whom I had a thorny relationship. We had no telephone, yet, until I was 17, to say nothing of an internet! After a major conflict, I ran away from home, not to return for several hours.

During hours of inner turmoil, I realized that I could in no way alter the on-going conflict between overworked, confused-by-the-new world parents; and that I would remain without the buffer of a brother for at least 3 to 4 more years. The one thing that I could change...was going to have to be me! If I did not want to be the little porcelain shepherdess in one of life’s dish-gardens, stuck away on a shelf, silent, observing but uninvolved, I had to...come alive. I vowed then to force myself to participate in class, raising my hand to join in, even as, initially, my fear-filled mind made me tongue-tied. I joined clubs and carried the NJ state flag as a Color Guard, marching with the school band. I joined French Club. Excelling in sports and school subjects, in our graduating class of 254 students, I was the best young woman athlete and 10th highest average student.

I would become a teacher! Not only would this bring me out of my shell; but it would allow me, in my classroom, to shine a light both on the shy and the bold, the popular and the loner, who listened to his own drummer. I initiated…there’s that word again…only this time I initiated my own challenges!

At Trenton State College, soon to graduate with a BA in Social Studies and minor in English--that day I attended a sophomore assembly where we were about to choose our junior-year, student-practicum. Our selections included elementary and secondary school experiences, as well as working with psychiatrically-disturbed patients at treatment centers. My mind had drifted off into a reverie, when a new option was described. My hand shot up, almost involuntarily; and this “quiet extrovert” or “friendly introvert,” myself, opted to work her practicum at a juvenile detention center! This was to happen often enough in my life--that I followed a course that had been as if predestined for me. Not one that I had thought out myself; but one that, mystically, opened up for me.

In the 60s, I would volunteer for the Shriver domestic peace corps, teaching the disadvantaged in Trenton’s Baptist Church, almost meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who, however, was, instead, spending some time in jail. Then, after the 1969‘s Attica Revolt, I would work 10 years as director of race-relations “Human Interaction” workshops, a Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) grant, with NY State Division for Youth. After a brief hiatus of one year in temporary jobs, I’d return to teaching in public schools for 14 years at Alternate Learning Centers and with-at-risk youth in Lansingburgh, New York.

As a former refugee that lost a country and a heritage, I was gifted a calling to help others. I thank God
"Atgriežoties mājās", Intervija
.....Dzimusi Rīgā, bet kristīta Iksķilē
.....Amērikā dzīvojusi 50 gadus, atgriežoties un apmetoties Rīgā, Novembrī. 2013.
               Bēgļu gaitā, pavadijusi 6 g. Vācijas DP nometnēs
.....Bakalaura grādi B.A. vēsturē, B.S. un M.S. angļu valodā, 
                 Vidus skolas skolotāja, īpaši audzekņus no riska grupām, 22 gadus.
                 Aktīvi piedalijās sociālās progrāmās ar Ņujorkas štatu "Division for Youth,"10. gadus.
.....Uzrakstijusi un pārtulkojusi 2 grāmatas, "Sveika, Amērika, Pārvietotā Persona Atceras" un "Astroloģija Virtuvē."
.....Certifikācija astroloģijā, no 2006 g. LAAStrā.

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