Monica and Parker Street Ministries
A few years ago I started thinking about volunteering at Parker Street Ministries' Academic Enrichment Program as a tutor. At the time, I was homeschooling my four young-ish kids, and had very little to give at the end of most schooldays. But, as one kid went to high school and the others grew less dependent on me to help them with their work, I revisited the idea. Since Christmas, I've been able to go in once a week for a couple hours to volunteer. It's become a highlight of my week.
I can't brag on the program (or its director, Christina Allen) enough. It's essentially wonderful (and free!) afterschool care for kids in the Parker Street neighborhood, offering tutoring, bible study, and play in a well supervised and loving environment. The ministry picks the kids up from school and gets them home after the program ends (around 6). During the summer, they offer summer bridge camp to give the kids a place for fun and creative activities, and to help counteract the academic losses that come over summer break. They are committed to helping change the odds for the parents and kids of one of Lakeland's most under-resourced communities. Again...I just think it's amazing. Volunteer (or get a job there) now, if you can!
But what does all this have to do with our hiking of the PCT?
After we decided to try fundraise for different organizations through our hike, I talked with Christina about what the needs of the ministry were. One necessity was a gently used Ford Transit to help with transportation of kids during the school year and summer camp.
If you can partner with me and donate pennies per mile we walk of the PCT, ALL of the money will go directly to the Academic Enrichment Program at Parker Street.