Middle School students gathered in the Auditorium to discuss Parker Partners, a program that partners Middle School students with local organizations to engage in volunteer opportunities.
Intermediate and Middle Schools Dean of Student Life Anthony Shaker and 7th grade English teacher Kate Tabor explained the purpose of the program and how it reflects Parker’s mission of civic engagement and teaching students to think and act with empathy.
Senior Josh Ijiwola also spoke about the impact of the program on his student experience. “Parker Partners is a powerful vehicle for personal growth that helps you gain a deeper understanding of the world and learn life skills. It really is a launchpad to being involved in things in high school.”
Shaker and Tabor then outlined the organizations that Parker Partners works with throughout the year, including the Anti-Cruelty Society, El Valor, Chicago Children’s Museum, Random Acts of Flowers, Little Free Libraries, Star Farms, Share Our Spare, Story Pirates, Night Ministry, Breakthrough and the Friendship Center.
Friendship Center Executive Director Justin Block offered a deep dive into his organization. The Friendship Center is a food pantry in Albany Park, and Block described his journey to his current position and commented on the importance of students partnering with the organization.
Groups comprising all Middle School grades will participate in four work days with the participating organizations throughout the year. By working outside the classroom and bringing life skills back with them, students continue to live out the Parker mission and learn how to be responsible citizens.