Delores Parker is a senior living and thriving at Mission First’s Golden Rule Plaza in Washington DC. She has a strong relationship with our staff, particularly our Resident Services team, and takes advantage of the opportunity of affordable housing and the many supportive programs offered to residents.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Mrs. Parker has had defining experiences throughout her life that have influenced her to be an incredible resident, neighbor and person.
Mrs. Parker grew up in the Georgetown area and raised her seven children there. She was in grade school through the transition from segregation to de-segregation, having been escorted to school by the police to ensure her safety. This experience at a young age was difficult and set the stage for her empathy and vision of justice for others.
Mrs. Parker also worked for the Pentagon in Special Forces for 16 years and was at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. While talking about that day, she grew emotional recalling how surreal the experience was, and spoke about how the day affected her deeply seeing her coworkers and team suffer. These experiences have impacted the way that Mrs. Parker carries herself in life. She strives to help and support her fellow residents.
Miss Dee, as our staff knows her, moved into Golden Rule Plaza in 2017 when her then husband became ill, and they had to sell their house in Maryland. They were looking for a new home that was affordable and convenient to community-based health care resources. Miss Dee’s daughter found Golden Rule Plaza, and she has made it her home ever since.
At Golden Rule Plaza and Mission First’s neighboring communities, our Resident Services team offers a robust services program. Miss Dee has participated in almost all of the programs offered at Golden Rule Plaza since moving in, including health and fitness sessions, financial education workshops, connections to local senior services and excursions to fun experiences.
One of her favorite events from this past summer was a boat trip with the Metropolitan Police Department, where residents learned boat safety and also received an exciting ride around the DC Wharf.
One of her favorite events from this past summer was a boat trip with the Metropolitan Police Department, where residents learned boat safety and also received an exciting ride around the DC Wharf. She also enjoyed Mission First’s EmpowHer Conference where she was instrumental providing information and resources for women for the last two years. She was also a guest at Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Senior Symposium, where Mission First provided transportation and support for our senior residents. Beyond individual events, our team also connected Miss Dee with the LIHEAP program and Department of Aging and Community Living for supportive services.
“Anything they have, I will be there,” said Mrs. Parker. She also encourages her neighbors to attend and be part of the programming to gain skills and knowledge from experts. Because the programs are free and directly designed for seniors, Mrs. Parker believes they provide access to programming many might not otherwise have access to.
“Miss Dee has been a cherished member of the Golden Rule Plaza for many years,” said Resident Services Coordinator Brigette Johnson. “Her active participation in our activities and field trips is coupled with her benevolence in volunteering for food distribution.”
Miss Dee is a valued program volunteer. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she helps distribute meals from DC Central Kitchen to residents in need at Golden Rule Plaza. Every Wednesday, she assists with the Capital Area Food Bank fresh food distribution to residents at Golden Rule Apartments, Golden Rule Plaza, Plaza West, The SeVerna and SeVerna on K. The partnership with Capital Area Food Bank has helped our team to provide nearly 3,000 pounds of fresh food to our residents monthly.
“It gives me something to do. I’ve been used to getting up and going and this gives me something to do and look forward to,” said Parker. While she would like to go back to work, some health issues have limited what she is currently able to do. Her volunteer work provides her with a sense of purpose.
Mrs. Parker also supports her neighbors to make sure they have what they need. She supports other residents by encouraging them to participate in programming and to be physically active to enhance their mobility. She performs wellness checks on residents that she hasn’t connected with in a few days and assists residents with getting things for their homes such as food, mail and medicine if they cannot do it themselves.
“She is more than just a neighbor, she builds community,” said Johnson. “Without her, this would be a very different environment.”
Through our Resident Services Department, Mission First provides resources, support and an array of programming designed to help our residents overcome challenges, meet individual and family goals and thrive in their homes and communities. We support our residents with critical resources to address issues like health and wellness, food security, youth development and financial well-being. And we help build community and keep people connected through celebrations and events.
We certainly couldn’t do our work without support from partners and friends like you! As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will donate to support this important work.