(WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero is a familiar face who’s working to make a difference in his community and beyond.
Giving back is a huge part of the outreach Sonny Parker does. He knows from experience that there’s a need in our community and is more than willing to be the one to fulfill it, no matter what it takes.
“Oh my God, thank you! Oh, this is big!” he said.
But not as big as Parker’s heart.
The last time WYTV met up Parker — executive director of the Mighty Cubs non-profit organization — he was donating over 1,000 socks to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
“Giving back, it started from my childhood, you know, I didn’t have everything. Socks, I didn’t have clean socks or new socks or old socks, clothes or whatever. So giving back is as much as possible, that’s what I choose to do,” he said.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Parker was what he calls an “at-risk kid.”
“I was bad in school, I was bad in the community. I was just bad,” he said.
Parker knew he wanted more than the path he had been on for so long.
Shortly after becoming a father, Parker made a promise to himself to turn his life around while also working to inspire others.
That’s when Mighty Cubs was born, an organization designed to give back to the youth in the community.
“My heart is just pouring into the community to come up with different programs for the youth, different programs that want to change things and want to do better,” he said.
Through Mighty Cubs, Parker has teamed up with several schools throughout Mercer County to put on anti-bullying assemblies. The program, called “Get Right,” targets at-risk youth and aims to decrease bullying in all forms.
He’s also starting anti-bullying meetings with students.
“Parents can sign their kids up, kids can come and vent. It’s basically like an AA meeting — you come and talk about what’s been going on in school or in the community and we can find different ways for you to cope with being bullied or dealing with whatever you’re dealing with,” Parker said.
His work has even caught the attention of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and several other state representatives.
Parker hopes he can be a role model for kids in the community.
“Because there’s kids out there that I can definitely relate to and be a spokesperson to that these kids will adjust to me easily because I’ve been down that road,” he said.
As for being a Hometown Hero…
“I really don’t consider myself a Hometown Hero, I just consider myself another resident, another person that wants to see the community be better,” Parker said.
Such a humble man with a big heart to share. Parker hopes to expand his outreach across the region and eventually nationwide.