-by Danielle Parks
“Luckyday is more than a scholarship, it’s a family.” As a Luckyday alum, this statement stands true in my heart. When I first became a Luckyday Scholar, I thought I was only gaining money to help pay for my education. I did not realize I would gain a family that would forever be part of my life. During my final year as a Luckyday Scholar, I was able to gain the most unique and amazing family, the First Floor Flock. This group of girls was comprised of all the freshmen and mentors who lived on the first floor of the new Luckyday Citizenship Hall. We were a unique group who encouraged each other, talked to each other, worked out with each other, laughed with each other, cried with each other, and made memories and relationships that would last a lifetime. It was always rewarding to hear people say, “I wish our floor was like the first floor.” During our final days together, I knew in my heart that this family would continue on.
This past Thanksgiving break, one of the girls posted the following message in our First Floor Flock GroupMe app: “Tacky Christmas sweater party at my apartment the week we come back from Thanksgiving! Make plans.
Miss y’all!” The excitement and planning began right away through group messaging and our Facebook event group.
The night of the Christmas party finally came arrived on December 4. When I walked into the apartment, it looked just as festive as our first floor living space in Luckyday Citizenship Hall. The apartment was decked out in Christmas decorations, which included some of our old Christmas decorations we had in our lounge on the first floor. Our RA, Lauren Gandy, even brought our pet floor fish, Fred Flock, to reunite with us.
The night included eating, taking pictures, catching up with each other, laughing, talking about memories that happened on the floor, playing Dirty Santa for over an hour, and playing Christmas Family Feud. As a former mentor, I wanted my Dirty Santa gift to be personal and funny. I knew a lot of the girls were obsessed with the movie, Elf. Therefore, I decided to get a Elf Christmas stocking, socks, and playing cards. It truly showed how much I cared about them and how much I learned about them. It was amazing to see the girls’ faces light up and see them “fight over it.” The entire night made it seem like no time had passed since we moved out of the residence hall. When everybody started to leave, it was stated, “We are going to make this an every year event.” That was a proud moment for me.
It is because of Luckyday we were able to have this opportunity. It is unimaginable to me that the First Floor Flock began as strangers during move in day. Now we are out of the residence halls, but we are still sticking together and remaining a family. We can now say, “ONCE a Luckyday First Floor Flock member, ALWAYS a Luckyday First Floor Flock member.”
Danielle Parks graduated in December of 2105 with a degree in social work. She is currently living in the Brandon area. Her time with the Luckyday Program gave her the passion to want to give back, so she hopes to use this passion to work with kids who have behavioral issues or those with a terminal illness. Her dream job would be working with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.