City of York nonprofit helping youth gets closer to launch
Tavon Parker’s dream of a program to help underprivileged children will soon become a reality.
York City’s nonprofit residents’ program, The Advantage, launches in June – and applications to be part of its inaugural group opened on Monday.
“I’m just very excited to start,” Parker said. “I can’t wait to see the children’s engagement in the program.”
The year-round program for boys will initially focus on summer activities. Parker said he deliberately wants to start the Advantage program after the end of the school year so that it can provide an outlet for children who don’t have summer plans.
“We want to give children the benefits that we didn’t necessarily have growing up,” Parker said. “There are a lot of people who can benefit from my story.”
Parker, a 2013 graduate of William Penn Senior High School, was accepted to Millersville University on a basketball scholarship. His grades slipped, however, and he was forced to drop out after losing his scholarship.
He returned to York, fell into the “wrong crowd” and started dealing drugs – later was jailed for 14 months from 2017 to 2018, Parker said.
After serving his sentence, he became a motivational speaker. This year, Parker has shifted gears to focus on the nonprofit organization he created.
In his vision, participating students would attend weekly meetings on topics such as financial literacy, community involvement, entrepreneurship and personal hygiene.
Each month, a general theme will guide the weekly lessons and will conclude with a trip outside York County.
The month of June will begin with finance and dress up classes for an official event. At the end of the month, Parker and the program’s mentors will take the kids to a local five-star restaurant.
For starters, the Advantage program accepts between 10 and 20 children. Individuals can register a child or recommend someone for the program by visiting the organization’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/The-Advantage-Program-101209568615641.
While some participating children may be eager to come to the weekly meetings, Parker said he realizes other children might not be so keen to participate.
That’s where Advantage mentors come in.
“What we want to do is change that mindset and expose them to different mindsets,” Parker said, adding that peer engagement will be a big part of the success of the program.
So far, the Advantage program has 15 mentors registered to participate in the program.
One of the mentors, Parker’s cousin, Brandon Parker, got involved in helping the students achieve the goals they want to achieve.
“When people don’t come out of York or Pennsylvania, you limit yourself to this finished place,” Brandon Parker said. “You don’t realize how much you could grow moving to a new city.”
The Advantage program aims to help their mentees not only graduate from high school, but develop post-school plans to achieve their goals – whether it’s going to college, going to school. of trades or to create a business.
Within weeks of the launch of the Advantage program, Parker and his team of volunteers have been working to bolster funding for the nonprofit.
In its first year, the Advantage program has a budget of $ 50,000. This will cover travel costs for monthly trips and a scholarship awarded to one of the students in the program, Parker said.
“I honestly believe this will be a journey of a lifetime between mentor and mentee,” Parker said. “It just gives me butterflies.”
– Contact Tina Locurto at [email protected] or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.