SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) – Thursday was a day of celebration for the Boys and Girls Club in San Augustine. They held the Center's annual Christmas luncheon which was started 8 years ago by Unit Director David Parks. "It puts a smile on my face and it gives you the sense that you're doing what God wants you to do. Because this is all about God, it's not about David Parks or the Boys and Girls Club, it's all about God and I give the glory to God and I know these kids are being blessed because I was once a kid just like this and so it puts a smile on my face," said Parks.
Parks grew up in a single parent household with 8 siblings. During Christmastime the folks in his small town of Hemphill always rallied around his family to make sure they had gifts. Parks has grown up and now he is sharing Christmas joy with kids like him. "A lot of kids that I see are just like me and I kinda wanted to give them that same opportunity that you know that I had when I was coming up. I go out and I solicit businesses all over San Augustine, Nacogdoches Lufkin and Center and everything that you see here today is donated, the gifts, the presents, and everything, they all donated."
Parks has also made a commitment to giving gifts that last a lifetime. "It's a blessing. You've got to teach every kid you know how to become a productive citizen of the community, so, you have to raise them and you have to teach every kid. I'm proud of our kids. I love every one of them like they're my own. I've raised my own. I've got 4 boys of my own but you know I'm still raising kids."
The Christmas event brings back fond memories for former members like Army Private Gracelyn Trimble. "It builds leadership in me. When I joined the military, I became a leader and showed me to have respect for myself, be more than myself," said Trimble.
And now college student Reva Davis, "The boys and girls club had a big influence on me being an outgoing student and trying to strive for bigger goals and getting to where I am now. As a young boys and girls club member I was a little shy, but they found out that I knew how to sing so they started letting me kind of perform for not only the kids, but for programs for the annual fundraiser. Through that avenue I was able to meet other people in the corporate board out of Nacogdoches and just develop relationships throughout the town that kind of made me want to do more, made me want to do more for my community and made me want to be a better person."
The San Augustine Boys and Girls Club was founded in 1997 and has served dozens of children by caring, mentoring, teaching and paying it forward. "I like to help people understand math and social studies and everything else that I know how to do," said Leandrea Wilson, Boys and Girls Club member and volunteer tutor.
The staff, volunteers and supporters share an experience that will last a lifetime. "It makes me feel great to know that you don't you don't just have your family thinking about you that you also have other people out there thinking about you," said Kaleigha Ray, Boys and Girls Club member.
During the Christmas luncheon every club member receives a gift solicited by Parks from businesses in San Augustine, Nacogdoches, Lufkin and Center. Parks says he did not do this alone. He says Boys and Girls Club CEO, Jeff Woods, hired him and gave him the opportunity as Unit Director. He adds that he has a great staff, Board of Directors, and community that support and believe in his mission to help young people develop into caring, productive citizens.
"Coach Parks was a positive influence on me coming up. I think the Boys and Girls Club gave him the perfect avenue to be that beacon of light to the community through kids and through me personally," said Davis.
Coach Parks believes his work is his calling from God.