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Former Atlantic City Boys & Girls kid now heads Teen Center

Atlantic City’s Boys & Girls Club always gave Tracy Parker a sense of being.

As an adult, it’s also her sense of purpose.

On Valentine’s Day, she became the Teen Center Director. The date was fitting given her love of the club she first went to at 9 years old.

“Growing up there made me feel valued and a part of something that made sense,” Parker told BreakingAC.

Parker is a perfect fit for the job, CEO Stephanie Koch said.

The center “is an innovation hub for youth, a job-training site for local technology, healthcare and hospitality employers, as well as a safe haven for young people 13 to 18 years old.”

“We are building the next generation of Atlantic City leaders with healthy habits, drive for success and creative minds that will change the world,” she said. “It makes perfect sense for Tracy to lead this effort.”

Parker has long talked of expanding the kids’ experiences beyond the boundaries of her hometown.

“That is still extremely important for our youth,” she said. “College tours and other field trips play a huge part in that. Although I do believe the city has great things and great people.”

Parker started working at the club in 2008. Her focuses now include the opening of the Wellness Center, expanding STEAM Strategy within the Apple Design Lab and Music Studio, continuing the roll out of dual-enrollment programming with Atlantic Cape Community College and Stockton University, and focusing on safety.

“Every day after school, teens have a place to meet with mentors, take advantage of homework help and academic enrichment opportunities with board certified teachers, explore careers, play basketball or flag football, enjoy a nutritious warm meal and be with their friends,” Koch said. “(Parker) will lead a team of BGCAC professionals focused on mental wellness, health equity, workforce development, recreation and community building.”

“To tout her skill, leadership and expertise in youth development is an honor for me, as CEO,” she added. “I, along with our entire Club Family, congratulate her and thank her for standing tall at the helm of our treasure on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Teen Center.”

Parker said she’s grateful to have the opportunity to serve the community that produced her.

“The opportunity to just be that relatable and inspire all the young club kids like myself to take advantage of what’s out there for them,” she said.

“I appreciate everyone who has believed in me and trusted me with their babies,” Parker said. “I promise to always push them past the limits.”

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