Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Parker.
Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I inherited my passion for philanthropy from my mother. For most of her life, she suffered from several terminal illnesses including breast cancer, a cerebral aneurysm, lung and brain cancer. She passed away in December of 2010. Even though she struggled with being a single mother and constantly being hit by illness, she always made time to volunteer, give clothes to shelters, and send checks to various non-profit organizations.
As I matured, I learned how to give back in ways that were meaningful to me. I served as the Teams Chair for the Baton Rouge Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure three years in a row. Through my day job, I have had the pleasure of acting as Secretary and Networking/Community Service Chair for our company’s annual women’s leadership forum. In 2016, I became a coach for Kids Boost, a local non-profit organization that teaches kids how to give back in creative ways. Essentially, my heart and passion has always been for giving back in some way. But there are areas that are more personal.
I can’t imagine, as a single woman, being raped. There are victims out there who did everything right. They went to the hospital, had a rape kit done, and gave a statement to the police. But they have to wait until the kit is tested to find out who it is if that person has done this before and how to apprehend them. There are over 10,000 kits in Georgia alone that are sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting to be tested. It’s torture added to an already unfathomable horror. I know survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.
So, one day I posted on the Atlanta My Favorite Murder Facebook page asking if anyone would be interested in putting together an event to benefit End the Backlog, a program of The Joyful Heart Foundation. Within ten minutes, I had 60 direct messages and more than 100 comments on my post! I was in awe. From there, we have worked together to plan and fund the Stay Sexy Social.
Has it been a smooth road?
Of course, it wasn’t smooth! Nothing worth doing is ever really easy. Having a mother that was going through all of these different situations was definitely challenging. Losing her was the worst. But I think she would be very proud of the person I have become.
My biggest struggle getting this event together has been the fact that I don’t really know Atlanta yet. I just moved to Georgia in 2012, so I have not had a chance to make too many connections. I work full time, too, so everything has to be done outside of that. I am so fortunate to have made some friends through the podcast group who have been helping wherever they can. I’ve never met some of the people who have been assisting me with the planning in person.
Our graphics guru is in California! I think that just proves how passionate Murderinos are about being the helpers of the world. Every day I wake up and think, “This can’t be real.” The fact that everything is moving in the right direction is so surreal to me. I do feel, though, that I am ready for the challenges to come.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the The Stay Sexy Social story. Tell us more about the business.
The Stay Sexy Social is a unique event because it brings together fans of My Favorite Murder and people who just care about victims’ rights. The Social will benefit The Joyful Heart Foundation’s “End the Backlog” program. I think most people don’t realize that there are thousands of rape kits sitting on shelves waiting to be tested, but they aren’t because of lack of funds and manpower. End the Backlog also aims to change legislation around victims’ rights.
When I tell people about the organization they are usually surprised that there is such a great need for activism in this area. As a group, I’m most proud of how everyone has come together so easily. In my experience, getting people interested is easy. Getting them to commit is hard. All of the people in our group are super passionate about the cause and the event. That makes everything easier.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Since this is our first event, the future is wide open. Like I said, I’m going to start my own non-profit within the next year or so. I think as attitudes change regarding sexual and domestic abuse, our work will be bolstered by those who feel strongly about it.
Remember, abuse is still a “dirty little secret” for many. We want to open up the conversations and help victims heal.
- Early Bird Tickets are $20 until September 14th (Promo code SSDGM)
- After September 15th $25
- Event T-shirts will pre-sale for $17
- T-shirts at the event will be $20
- Phone: 225-931-8746
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @staysexysocial
- Facebook: @staysexysocial
- Twitter: @staysexysocial
- Other: https://www.etsy.com/listing/635843131/the-stay-sexy-social-event-t-shirt?ref=shop_home_active_1
Corey Smith, Rana at Salon Lotus