Senior Spotlight: Darlene Parker

Senior Spotlight-Nov. 2013 Clarion, Darlene ParkerIt could have been a scene right out of the 1939 movie classic, Gone with the Wind. But for Darlene Parker, president of the tenants association at New Community Douglas Homes for the past 16 years, it was a real-life drama that actually sparked her interest in a nursing career. “I delivered my sister’s ?rst baby. I had seen babies born before,” explained Parker, a retired R.N. who was 12-years-old when she ushered her then 11-year-old sister’s baby into the world as a child growing up in Conway, S.C.
That baby, whom Parker helped raise, along with her sister’s ?ve other children and her own two biological children, is now 52 years old and doing ?ne.  Jasminee Sawh-Ramroop, the care coordinator at Douglas Homes who works for NCC Social Services, said Parker is today a true “advocate” for residents of her 15-story apartment building located on Hill  Street in Newark.  “If a resident is facing a problem, Ms. Parker always tries to resolve the problem by working with Social Services and Management,” she said. “I’m still cooking for different affairs in my building. I visit the sick and pray for them. I love people,” added Parker, 67, who has lived at Douglas for the past 20 years and has also helped tend a vegetable garden behind the building.  As a member of NCC’s Senior Advisory Council, Parker joins tenant leaders monthly from NCC’s eight senior buildings and family properties in Newark, Orange and Jersey City for a monthly meeting with NCC founder and board chair, Monsignor William J. Linder, and board member Madge Wilson. “These meetings are important,” said Parker, an Eastern Star and member of Newark’s First Hopewell Baptist Church. “We go there and discuss with Father Linder what our buildings might need and he and Ms. Wilson respond.” One of Parker’s most vivid lifetime memories is participating in the 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a Dream” speech. “Oh my Lord, it was happiness and delight…a day I will never forget,” she said

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