Last year, Parker lost three people in her life - her sister, her companion and a nephew. The deaths dealt a crippling emotional blow to Parker, a usually vivacious and outspoken woman.
"I didn't want to go out anymore," she says. "I felt washed out."
Someone in Parker's building told her about Boston ABCD's Foster Grandparent program, a stimulus-funded program that integrates older, low-income residents into the neighborhoods of Boston and Quincy to help in the growth and development of children.
Parker's friend took her to Boston ABCD to get trained and next thing Parker knew she was working in the Head Start program in Dorchester.
Parker feeds the kids, who are between the ages of 18 months and three years. She reads to them, she plays catch with them, she helps put them down for their
"One little boy is so attached to me, when he comes in, he cries and then he sees me and he stops crying," she says.
Parker is at the Head Start every day from 7:30 in the morning often till 1 PM. "I put more time in than they tell me because I love the kids," she says. She credits this volunteer position with helping her get over the deaths of her loved ones.
"The program helped me to not think of these things all day long," she says. "I love these kids."