The closing ceremony of The Counseling Center, Inc. Summer Outreach Program had a different dynamic this year. Clarence Parker, who has headed up the Outreach Program for the last 26 of the 27 years of the program’s existence is retiring.
Another successful Summer Outreach Program season came to an end last week. Children participating in the Summer Outreach Program, their parents and outreach staff gathered in the gymnasium of the 14th Street Community Center Aug. 3, for the closing ceremony. Parker said investing in the lives of so many youth is something that he is grateful for.
“As I think back on my last closing ceremony for the Summer Outreach Club Program, I am so thankful for the many young lives that I have had the privilege of investing in over the past 26 years,” Parker said. “It is an awesome and humbling feeling to know that by the grace of God I had the opportunity to make a positive impact upon the lives of so many young people.”
Andy Albrecht, chief executive office of The Counseling Center, said Parker has been an incredible asset to the outreach program and The Counseling Center overall.
“Honestly, it is hard to put into words what Clarence has been to us, he is just awesome. He (Parker) has been such a special person to us, and I am extremely grateful to have Clarence at The Counseling Center, and all of the things that he has been able to help us accomplish in the community,” Albrecht said. “The outreach program is so very special, and it has just helped so many kids and families over the years, and is one of the pillars in the state of Ohio, and is really a model program.
Parker recognized a host of community partnerships, and the campers of the Summer Outreach Club that have been outstanding during the course of the nine-week program. Refreshments of pizza, soft drinks, and cupcakes were served at the ceremony, sponsored by Wes Banco Additionally, each Summer outreach participant was given a back pack to prepare for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.
Dr. Terry Johnson, representative of the House District 90, presented Parker with a special recognition of, a proclamation. Among the host of kudos to Parker’s grand contribution to the outreach program, the proclamation stated, “Diligent and painstaking in all of your endeavors, you have achieved a noteworthy record of service as the director of prevention services for The Counseling Center, Inc.”
Bill Hanley of the Fraternal Order of Eagles of New Boston was also present, and presented the check for $7,000 to Parker on behalf of the Summer Outreach Program.
“I am here to represent the The Eagles’ national motto, “People Helping People,” all over the world, and part of our program locally is to help The Counseling Center, and to donate $7,000 a year to this program that helps so many children in our community,” Hanley said. “I am very sorry to see him leave. He has been a rock. I have known Clarence for almost a lifetime. Helping out with this program is such a worthy cause, and we will definitely continue to support the program after Clarence’s retirement.”
Gina Collinsworth, director community relations and Development Compass Community Health and The Counseling Center, Inc., said what Parker means to the Summer Outreach Program is inexplicable.
“I can’t explain to you what an asset Mr. Parker has been to our children and community. There is no way to measure the impact that he has had on all of the kids throughout the years,” Collinsworth said. “We are just extremely grateful for everything he has done, and I want to say thank you Mr. Parker, and his wife Pat Parker for being such great assets to our community.”
As is the custom, an end of the year trip was held for the Summer Outreach Program. This year, two groups were led by Parker and his staff for two fun-filled days of sheer enjoyment at the Triple Crown Family Center in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.