By Andrea Howard, representative of Parker Development and Chair of the Hands4Hope Board of Directors
Hands4Hope is so appreciative of your long time partnership! Why do you continue to support Hands4Hope and how does our mission to inspire and empower youth in leadership and service fit your current goals?
Serrano – Parker Development has a long history of supporting the communities we build. Youth development is a particular focus for our corporate philanthropy because it provides youth with supportive networks and opportunities for connectedness that boost their social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral competence. Hands4Hope – Youth Making A Difference does just that. I am so impressed and inspired by the youth in Hands4Hope for the range of their positive qualities. They are inquisitive, good listeners, excel at interpersonal skills and communication, use their passions and strengths to solve real-world problems, possess resiliency and adaptability, and have confidence in their abilities.
How do you see our shared commitment to serving the local community so important during these challenging times?
Adolescence can be such a challenging phase of life as teenagers develop their identities and experience pressure to conform to their peers. It is a crucial time of social and emotional development that can impact their mental health, but unfortunately, mental health determinants such as emotional and behavioral disorders and risk-taking are on the rise. Stress, bullying, quality of home life and relationships with peers can exacerbate mental health conditions. However, Hands4Hope is a supportive environment that creates a safe space where all youth are welcome and truly delivers on their core organizational values - - youth-driven, inclusion, service, collaboration, and integrity. This positive atmosphere allows youth to find purpose and exercise their voices in meaningful ways for them personally as well as the greater good.
What is your favorite thing about Hands4Hope?
My favorite thing about Hands4Hope is how it offers a place for youth to connect outside of the usual array of extracurricular activities like athletics, academic clubs, band/choir, and student government. As a teenager, I did not have confidence in my intellectual or physical abilities and did not participate in extracurriculars, leaving me feeling like an outsider throughout most of my high school years. I wish I had a Hands4Hope growing up that would have helped me identify and appreciate my strengths at an earlier age and sparked my passion to lend a helping hand to those in need. If I had felt empowered, I would have recognized my capabilities, had the confidence to try new things, and learned from my mistakes instead of being afraid of them. On the contrary, Hands4Hope provides a framework and mentorship that instills belief in youth that they are capable of extraordinary things!
Tell us about your company/organization.
Parker Development Company is a third-generation, family-owned business that has created award-winning communities in the greater Sacramento area for more than 60 years. Our early projects were Greenhaven and Riverlake in Sacramento, followed by The Parkway at Folsom.
One of our largest, current-day projects is the 3,500-acre Serrano community that we began developing in the early 1990’s. It is hard to believe this much time has passed, but we have had an office in El Dorado Hills for nearly 30 years (initially off Governor’s Drive and currently in the Serrano Visitor’s Center on Serrano Parkway) to house a small, but almighty staff who have overseen the construction of Serrano and its various amenities from day one.