Hamilton couple helps youth gain valuable ‘Experience’

Ziplining, visiting a college campus, camping and creating pottery are just some of the things young people in the Hamilton Boys & Girls Club are now experiencing.

Experience provides youth with enriching life activities they may not otherwise have due to their socioeconomic circumstances. It also exposes children to positive environments — like college campuses — to plant seeds for their future.

Longtime Hamilton residents Krista and Bret Parrish established a fund with the Hamilton Community Foundation to create Experience.

“It has been amazing so far,” Krista Parrish said of the 1-year-old program. “We wanted children in Experience to have a chance to do things they might not have been able to do before.”

Students earn the privilege of participating in the special events by attending after school programs, working in the homework and reading club, and demonstrating positive behavior.

Since its start one year ago, children in grades three through six have engaged with local organizations such as The Great Miami Valley YMCA, Fitton Center for Creative Arts, Miami University football team and Miami University Marching Band.

The trip to Miami University involved learning how to march from the marching band and meeting the hockey team. The football team also tossed the ball around with the youths, said Krista Parrish, a former reading intervention teacher for Hamilton City Schools.

Afterward, all the students were treated to a pizza party hosted at Brick Street in Oxford, she said.

“It’s fun for them to be able to try some of these things that they may not have the chance to be exposed to otherwise without the Experience program,” Krista Parrish said.

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