By the time Desiree Parker turned 21 years old, she had already overcome more challenges than many adults. She entered foster care as a four-year-old with her three siblings after her young parents proved incapable of supporting them, but the obstacles didn’t end there. The La Crosse Tribune reports:
Finding a home willing to take four siblings is rare, Parker said. She lived with her sister, and her brothers lived in a separate home. All four went to the same school, and they developed a close bond despite living separately.
“We had to be there for one another,” she said. “They’ve been through a lot of the same things.”
Not only did Parker manage to maintain her relationship with her siblings, she also grew into a talented student. Parker’s success as a social work major at Viterboro University left her professors impressed:
“She’s really committed to the profession of social work,” [Viterboro University social work professor Connie] Fossen said. “I just can see her doing a lot of different things.”
Classes and internships gave Parker a new respect for the system. She saw the difficulties faced by county workers.
“Totally changed my perspective on what I knew,” she said. “It makes you more well-rounded. I’m not just seeing it from my own perspective.”
Parker is interested in using her social work education and newfound perspective to help a wide range of people. However, helping soldiers and veterans especially resonates with Parker since her two brothers are currently serving in the military:
[Parker] has applied to numerous jobs — including one at Fort Bragg, N.C., where one of her brothers is stationed — and survived a couple of job interviews.
“I’m ready for it, but it’s scary,” Parker said. “It’s the real world.”
No matter where she ends up though, Parker is determined to continue her impressive run of success:
“I think that no matter where I go, I’m going to keep moving up that ladder,” Parker said. “I want to become a social worker that really knows what I’m talking about.”