Parker Street Ministries and Executive Director Tim Mitchell
The Parker Street neighborhood is a low income, high crime area in Lakeland located just north of downtown Lakeland. The neighborhood is defined by Memorial Boulevard and the In-town bypass to the north and south and by Florida Avenue and Ingraham Avenue to the west and east. Due to the poverty and crime in this area, the neighborhood and its people are, for the most part, broken, forgotten and marginalized.
Parker Street Ministries (PSM) is a Christ-centered, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to individual, family and community restoration, reconciliation and revitalization in Lakeland’s Parker Street community. The ministry has operated for fourteen years and currently has five full-time and ten part-time staff members, as well as a board of trustees and an advisory board. Parker Street Ministries’ budget for 2012 is over $600,000. PSM completed a $1.2 renovation of program space in September 2011 that was funded by community donors. Tim Mitchell has been the Executive Director since 2002. PSM assumed ownership of the program space in February 2012.
Tim has never known anything but ministry to the poor. He was born and raised in Arkansas where his parents set a continual example of caring for broken and needy people such that by the time he graduated from high school, Tim knew that is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He settled in Lakeland to be near his sister and because he felt the city of Lakeland would be big enough to have a need for urban ministry. Fifteen years ago he moved into a crack house in the Parker Street neighborhood and began cruising the streets on his skateboard, building relationships with neighbors—drug dealers, prostitutes and pimps. He met and married his wife Christy in 2002.
For the last ten years, Tim has led this ministry that works to reconcile the individuals in this neighborhood to one another, to the world around them and to God. Parker Street Ministries is characterized by a staff and friends who intentionally live in this neighborhood to transform it from the inside out as well as programs including: afterschool academic enrichment, academic summer camp, a housing initiative, neighborhood mentorship and mercy, annual Christmas store and regular block and neighborhood parties.
Through the support of and partnership with individuals, government, foundations, civic organizations, businesses and church communities, Parker Street Ministries inspires and changes lives daily.