Ep.112 – Damon Parker – Finding Joy in Progress: From Tragedy to Transformation

Paul FennerPodcast

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What do we do when we reach a crossroads in life?  How can we transform a tragedy into something meaningful that helps others?

Damon Parker comes from a family of educators, with his parents and grandparents all having careers in teaching.  But after reaching a crossroads in his teaching career, Damon found an opportunity in coaching wrestling and public speaking.

After successfully building a championship wrestling team, Damon’s perspective shifted, which led him to help co-found the Jones Project in memory of Josh Jones, the nonprofit’s namesake who died of suicide in March 2021.

The Jones Project’s mission is to bring a message of hope and healing to secondary students through the power of storytelling.  Damon’s gripping 60-minute presentations are not solely directed at students who are in crisis; they also are for those in the audience who don’t have firsthand experience with mental health illnesses.

Three Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on relationships and personal growth: True happiness comes from focusing on relationships and personal growth rather than solely chasing achievements.
  2. Mental health matters: Personal struggles with mental health led them to prioritize the well-being of the young people they work with.
  3. Parent awareness: Parents need to be attentive to changes in behavior and provide resources like the app A Friend Asks, which helps identify warning signs and offers guidance on supporting friends in need.

Mental health matters, and it begins with all of us being aware of each other as parents, kids, and friends.

Please enjoy my conversation with Damon Parker.

Resources Featured in This Episode:

Damon Parker

The Jones Project

A Friend Asks – app

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