For many years, Charles Parker has served the Kalamazoo community. Named by the Kalamazoo Gazette as “Mr. Everything,” Charles’ reputation for excellence in youth programming and community development work is extensive. His most notable service includes: Program Director for the Greater Kalamazoo Y.M.C.A where he established the Lincoln-Y.M.C.A program on the Northside of Kalamazoo; founder of the Kalamazoo Black Achievers Program; head coach for various sports programs such as football, track, wrestling and judo; founding member of the Northside Neighborhood Watch; and Achievement and Behavior Support Specialist for Kalamazoo Public Schools.
In addition to being an active community leader, Charles is the father of six children reared countless nieces, nephews and foster-children over the years. Charles believed that it was essential for his children to develop into community leaders, therefore he worked hard to keep them involved in many of the services he was involved with in the community. The seeds of hope he planted in them over the years enabled them to realize their personal dreams; and now they have been equipped and positioned to help him in realize a personal dream of his own.
In 2013, with the help of his family, Charles Parker founded Charlie’s P.L.A.C.E. (Pursuing Leadership and Community Engagement). This organization offers various recreational programming, including: the Charlie’s P.L.A.C.E. YBL Basketball League, Greater Kalamazoo Judo Association as well as educational programs geared toward pre-college access and basic skills. Through offering recreational and educational programming, Charlie’s P.L.A.C.E. hopes to provide a positive outlet for the youth of Kalamazoo as well as an environment to plant seeds of hope, cultivating and developing these youths into effective community leaders.