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Sherita Park brings real-life experience to her work

Wed, Jul 23, 2014

Sherita (1 of 1)Even though she hasn’t been at StreetWise for very long, Sherita Parker has made her bubbly presence known throughout the office. At 24, she is working on getting her associate’s in business administration at Truman College while assisting StreetWise as a Job Coach of its Transitional Jobs Program. Sherita is also the mother of her “awesome 3-year-old” daughter, Malia.

Before coming to StreetWise she worked as an administrative assistant at Ebony Kids Daycare, a home- based childcare center, for several years. Sherita found out about her position at a career fair and immediately knew that she wanted to be involved in this organization. After growing up in Englewood, Sherita spent some time homeless in Chicago.

“When I was about 19, I was a homeless youth and I stayed in a few of the city shelters. I have firsthand experience,” Sherita said. “I’d always tell my ex that if I ever won the lottery and won a million dollars, that my ultimate goal would be to take that money and invest it in Englewood, ideally in a way similar to what StreetWise does. Getting hired here is pretty much like winning the lottery.”

Sherita recently recruited at Heartland Alliance’s Neon Street Dorms, a shelter where she had stayed during her time homeless.

“I was noticing how everything had changed there. It’s nice to go back and remember where you came from,” Sherita said. “It’s an inspiration to help somebody else get from where you were to where you are. I can tell them, ‘Look, it’s possible.’”

When asked to choose 
three words to describe herself, Sherita selected “outgoing, adaptable, and resilient.” These descriptors accurately portray Sherita’s passion for making a change.

“Once you get passionate about this [issue], it consumes you. In five years, I want to become a homeowner, be completely done with college, and I want to be here with StreetWise. I want to help StreetWise have an even greater success rate in housing and employment, and that would be a huge accomplishment [for me].”

Sherita does not just want to be the only change maker in the family, but has big plans for her daughter as well.

“Every day I sit down with my 3-year-old and I tell her [about life],” Sherita said. “I want her to be an activist. I want her to be involved in outreach and volunteering.”

When she is not hard at work or taking care of her daughter, Sherita enjoys writing poetry and listening to music. Her creativity, determination, and vibrant spirit are bound to help her make quite an impact within the StreetWise office.

“They say, ‘How are you an innovator? How will people remember you after you’re dead?’ I remember when I was homeless, when I started from nothing, from zero, from scratch,” Sherita said. “[In the future] I want people to remember that I went to StreetWise one day, and look at me now! I want to be a CEO. I want to be an entrepreneur. You never know, the possibilities are endless.”

Marissa Diekhoff
StreetWise Intern

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