BCTC's Laura Parrish named Volunteer of the Year by Lexingtons HOPE Center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (October 31, 2016) Laura Parrish, IT Project Coordinator in the Information Technology department at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC), has recently been named the A photo of Laura ParishRandy Breeding Volunteer of the Year by Lexington's Hope Center. Parrish was awarded the honor at the Hope Center's Ball Homes Night of Hope presented by Don and Cathy Jacobs on October 27. The special night featured actress Meredith Baxter of TV's Family Ties.

The Hope Center is a non-profit organization which cares for homeless and at-risk persons by providing food, shelter, clothing and support services such as health, employment and housing. More information about the many services offered at the center can be found at www.hopectr.org.

Acting as a surrogate mom to hundreds of young men in the Hope Center's Men's Recovery Program, Parrish serves lunch once a week and teaches Life Skills classes at the Center. The work is personal to Parrish. She began volunteering at the center in 2014 after her son, Nick, relapsed and left the program. Nick passed away in April following a drug overdose. She was asked to teach the class because of her experience. The Life Skills class presentation includes sharing with the men what it is like to be on the other side as the parent of someone addicted and in the recovery process.

"I ask them to be forgiving of their loved ones and family just as they'd want their family to be forgiving of them," said Parrish. Most significantly she tells the men they are important, as many addicts feel underserving and unworthy. "I want them to know there are people they don't even know who care about them." Volunteering has made an impact on both the men's recovery and on Parrish. "They have helped me in my own healing."

Following Nick's death, Parrish and her family also established the Nick Parrish Scholarship of Hope at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. This $500 per semester scholarship provides support for an individual in recovery who would like to enroll in at least one course at BCTC. More information about the scholarship can be obtained by calling the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Foundation at 859-246-6582.