Thursday, June 4, 2015

The people in your neighborhood - Eight is not enough for Jean Parker of Beaver Mines

Jean Parker at The Junction
Jean Parker moved to a Beaver Mines area acreage from Calgary approximately six years ago. She volunteers at 'The Junction', Pincher Creek's food bank, is a busy mom with foster and adopted children, and works for Bridges Consulting. She was a Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) volunteer in Calgary, helping people overcome poverty, and also volunteered with Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), with her pet therapy dog.

"We had a recreational home here for weekends, and then my husband ended up getting a job here, so he was living here, and I was living in Calgary, and then he convinced me to move. It took me probably 3 years to feel like I was starting to become a part of the community." When Parker she felt settled here she decided to find a good vounteering match. "Okay, I want to do something in the community, what can I do?"

"I think I talked to Anne about it first," Anne Gover is Program Supervisor for McMan Agency, which manages The Junction. Parker said Gover listened to her interests and suggested a few places she might volunteer, including the food bank.

"We're a foster home. We have foster, and adoptive children in the house. We wanted our kids to learn about being part of the community, and giving back now that they're in a 'have' family, they can give back to the 'have nots'.

Jean's life includes five children at home, one who has grown up and moved out, and her husband has two children from a previous marriage. "Eight."

"My brother was a foster and then an adoptive child in our home and I was biological, so I was raised in a home where we adopted. Then my husband was raised in a home where he probably should have been put into foster care. So we both have different reasons for wanting to help. I love hanging around kids, I love kids."

She volunteers once a week at The Junction. "I love the people that volunteer and work here, I think that meeting them has been great, and we have fun. It gives you a sense of accomplishment that you're helping someone else, but it also makes you realize how much you have and how fortunate you are."

"I wish I had more time to be here."

(corrected for accuracy)

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