Shanda Parker, the new Sunrise Family Resource Center coordinator, watches as Caitlin Hart stacks blocks. Beside her, Tyler Hoare plays a game of his own. Parker began her new job working at the center nearly a month ago. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
After a month on the job, the new coordinator at Sunrise Family Community Center has started to settle into her new life in Lincoln County.
â€œItâ€™s a fun job, really,â€ said Shanda Parker, the new coordinator. â€œSometimes I feel like Iâ€™m just playing.â€
Parker spends much of her time working with young children up to the age of five.
Since she started her job, she has organized story times, Easter parties and arts and crafts projects.
â€œI love working with people, especially kids,â€ said Parker. â€œI love to feel like Iâ€™m making a difference.â€
Parker also focuses her attention on the parents of these young children and helps teach them life skills through workshops and guest speakers.
â€œA lot of folks have never had any guidance in how to write a resume or conduct themselves in a job interview,â€ said Billy Marsh, director of Communities in Schools, who oversees the center.
Having recently completed a job interview of her own, Parker feels sympathetic for Sunrise Community members facing the same challenge.
â€œI know I was nervous when I went to my first interview,â€ said Parker.
â€œI would have loved to have someone sit down with me.â€
Marsh hired Parker, a graduate of Wingate University with a degree in human services, in part because of her enthusiasm.
â€œShe seemed very excited about the program,â€ said Marsh. â€œIt requires a unique individual.â€
During her first few weeks on the job, Parker filled out paper work and was introduced to members of the Lincolnton community.
In the past few weeks, she has begun working her job in earnest, and her new boss has been happy with the results.
â€œSheâ€™s asking questions, and sheâ€™s building relationships,â€ said Marsh. â€œI couldnâ€™t be more pleased with her performance.â€
Events at the resource center are free, but parents and guardians are expected to attend with their children.
The center also offers books for children and books on parenting.
Those seeking lessons in Spanish and English as a second language classes can also find them at the center.
Although the focus of the job is on young children, working with the Sunrise community as a whole is part of the centerâ€™s mission.
â€œIf we make the community better then we have suddenly made it safer for (the children) to go outside,â€ said Marsh.
Events at the community center are open to any families in Lincoln County.
Parker and her husband plan to stay in their new home for the long haul. Part of the appeal of the area is the fact her parents live close by.
For now, Parker is still getting used to her new job.
â€œItâ€™s a challenge,â€ said Parker. â€œIâ€™m still trying to learn everything and get a feel for it.â€by Sarah Grano