ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) —Eighteen-year-old Abigail Williams is a Sophomore studying video game design at Full Sail University. But she’s not just creating characters to defeat the bad guys, she’s also a real-life superhero for countless kids in Albany.
In a video game, you can journey to a new world or even transform into someone else with just a controller. Abigail Williams already has plans for her first full-scale story game and the starring character.
“Here name is Arlet. She is a mage. I feel like she’s the embodiment of a female leader,” Williams said.
Leadership is something Abigail can speak to firsthand as an active member of the Titans. The Titans is an Albany-based mentorship program created by Paul Collins-Hackett.
Hackett is better known as “Batman” in Albany and lives by the mission, “Save the City.” He has led countless community-driven efforts and is the Executive Director of the RED Bookshelf—a non-profit community literacy program.
“I understand that I’m getting old,” Collins-Hackett joked. “We can’t time travel. So, this is how we change the future. We invest in our young people.”
“Batman” gives each Titan a superhero persona, nicknames like NightWing to Miss Martian. From there, they attend mentorship programs and receive resources to achieve their goals while also giving back to the community themselves.
“We create an ecosystem where we invest in our kids, and our kids invest in our community,” Collins-Hackett said.
That investment has paid off with Williams. Over the past two years, she has volunteered at countless local events and fundraisers through the Titans and The RED Bookshelf. Additionally, as a virtual student at Full Sail University, she recently received an invitation to be a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Williams has overcome countless obstacles to achieve her dreams. She lost her grandmother who was her primary caretaker and closest family member when she was a Sophomore in high school. After her grandmother passed away, Williams initally struggled when she moved to Albany with her aunt and had to adapt to a new life.
“I remember many times when I wanted to give up and I wasn’t seeing progress,” Williams said. “It was never ‘I’m just going to stop.’ It was, ‘I might take a break but I’ll be back.'”
Currently, Williams aims to inspire the next generation to see the value in giving back to their commnutires. In the future, she hopes Arlet will help her message live on and teach young girls to be resilant in the face of adversity.
“I hope other young girls see her and think, I can be that,” Williams said.