A natural leader, Parker continued to climb the ranks of the Salvation Army, becoming the director of that particular facility, and climbing the ranks even further to her current role of leading the Correctional and Justice Services Department, which she’s held for almost a decade now. She supervises programs in London/Middlesex, Chatham/ Kent, Huron, Perth, and Elgin Counties. “It’s been an amazing career,” said Parker as she reminisced about a long career which she said has flown by. This is the type of career that can invade personal life, and it’s certainly not your regular nine to five job. Having been on call 24/7 for the majority of the years past, Parker credits being passionate for the causes and the communities she serves for her continued dedication to what she does. “I get strength from somewhere to help the people no matter what shape they are in. It helps me knowing there is something else out there for me to lean on and having that prayer in my head every day definitely helps me get me through it.” With accolades like starting the John School in London, an educational program for men involved in soliciting sex trade workers and having a hand in helping many community members turn their lives around, the great work Parker and her team do throughout Southwestern Ontario is obvious. As executive director, Parker is very hands on and rolls up her sleeves to get involved whenever she needs to. However, her biggest priority now is to secure funding so they can continue to serve these communities. This is where King’s has played an integral role. After years in the field, Parker got excited about the possibility of doing a Master in Sociology. After learning that her Bachelor of Arts would need to be upgraded to an honors specialization as a pre-requisite for graduate school, she became a King’s student all over again. Back at King’s, the passion that had been evident throughout her life seemed to have been reignited. “It was really fun. I enjoyed it much more the second time than the first time I went.” “I met so many incredible young people and have hired many of the students from my classes. The best part of my career is probably going back to school and graduating again
in 2009. I was just amazed at how refreshed I felt being in that environment, and the excitement of meeting all these professors and students with these great ideas.” Learning how to be an effective researcher, writer, and being in tune with the industry trends and language really helped Parker in the very important task of building a strong case for funding, a reality in the non-profit community. With aspirations of going back to school again someday to complete her Master in Sociology, she’d choose King’s again (for the third time) if she could.
If it were up to Einstein and Ali to decide, it’s safe to say they would agree Parker’s life has been worthwhile and she’s paid sufficient rent for her room here on earth. It’s people like Parker that make our communities better. The most impressive part? Her modesty.
Parker on her King’s experience Do any of your classes or professors stand out as having a real impact on your King’s experience? •• John Snyder and his bow tie in my first class ever at King’s in 1979. •• Crying in Don Kerr’s office about returning to stats as I had been in a car accident and it was turning out to be a challenge •• The students. They were so welcoming and helpful to me my second time around. I had to re-learn how to be a student and they were fantastic. •• Pamela Cushing as she allowed her students the opportunity to be creative in their thoughts and actions to help change the world. •• I will never forget Christine Lavrence sharing her work on the Holocaust. It was a reminder that we must always keep in mind how our actions affect others. What made you feel at home at King’s and want to come back? •• The size of the campus, the community of students and the professors. Everyone is there to help you make it through. What classes/professors impacted or shaped you as a researcher? •• Lesley Harmon and Don Kerr helped me get started as a researcher. Lesley’s class introduced me to possibilities for a thesis. I still need to take the second part of her course to finish it. What is your favourite King’s memory? •• Walking by all the professors lined up in their robes as they were clapping and cheering us on during graduation in 2009, and graduating on the Dean’s Honor List.
The King’s Herald | SPRING 2013 21