Marquita Parker

Marquita's Photos

Click images to see larger view

Meet Marquita Parker from St. Louis, MO

When not working full-time as a Project Manager for a publishing company, Marquita Parker enjoys being a Volunteer Baton Instructor offering free lessons to middle school girls in her community. Marquita started a baton twirling team called the Twirl Girlz that performs in local parades and competitions and she would like to take in more girls and provide more performance opportunities. Her goal is to continue to impact her community in a positive way, but the biggest roadblock is a lack of funds. So Marquita requested $3,000 to purchase new costumes for the team and the proper equipment needed to perform.

Her shopping list includes:
* Batons
* Tights
* Indoor Shoes
* Parade Shoes
* Leotards
* Dance Skirts
* Sequined Costumes
* Warm Ups
* Glowstick Batons
* Trophies
* Umbrellas (for a "Singin' In The Rain" routine)
* Hoop Batons
* Hair Ribbons

"They love being a part of this unique experience and I want to create such a big impression on their lives with this," Marquita wrote on her application. "I hope to see some of them twirl at the high school and collegiate level when they are of age. The biggest pay off would be to learn that when they become adults, they are somewhere paying it forward and teaching youngsters baton twirling lessons in their community."

With Marquita as their mentor, the Twirl Girlz are working hard, learning confidence, resilience, how to win and lose with class, and she has noticed a real change in them. The girls who participate can use this activity to get fit and stay healthy, to pay for college tuition, or to just have fun and enjoy the journey.

Diary Starts Here

September 17, 2012

Marquita sent us an update...

"Here is a pic of the items I ordered for the baton twirlers. I have hoop batons, tulip batons, skinny mini batons for those with little hands, and silver and red fringe to decorate the hoops. Thanks so much, Marquita"

click the image to enlarge

July 28, 2011

Marquita sent us an update with photos from last season...

"We are several weeks away from starting our next season of twirling with these youngsters in the community and wanted to get back in touch and send you photos of some of our last activities of last season. I would like to present these girls with trophies for their accomplishments last year. I have booked a bowling party and would like to kick of the year in a way that will get the old girls excited about getting back together again and the new girls something cool to look forward to.

So here are pics of the girls when they performed at the River City Rascals Minor League Baseball game in O'Fallon, MO. We were already starting to lose girls to breaks and summer trips to grandparents by this performance.

Pics of the girls performing in the Downtown St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Photos of the girls donning their raincoats, umbrellas, tights, and shoes you all so graceously purchased at the Miss Springtime Majorette contest in Mehlville, MO. They won two 1st place team trophies here, and also racked up a host of individual medals as well.

There are also pictures of some of the girls wearing the sparkly blue, greeen, and sequin costumes you all provided.

Then there are a couple pictures of me and Mera (I was selected as the Parade Marshal) for the biggest local parade in Florissant, MO. There is also a news article online ( Click Here ) that writes about the parade. My daughter, Mera, wrote an awesome essay about our efforts with the Twirl Girlz and this is how I was selected as Marshall. Previous Parade Marshalls were people like Baseball Hall of Famer, Lou Brock and Miss USA (Shandi Fennessey) so it was awesome to be included among those ranks.

I have fliers made up and am excited to welcome new girls to join our ranks this year. I am spreading the word throughout the community and everyone seems excited and supportive of what we are trying to accomplish. I'll need more batons soon! Marquita"

click the image to see a slideshow

April 29, 2011

Marquita sent us an update recently...

"I wanted to check in with you all and give you an update on the Twirl Girlz. The Twirl Girlz have competed in our local Kelly's Kuties contest last month and brought home two first place trophies. The umbrella's and raincoats for the singing in the rain routine were a big hit. They had a rough time at the Kansas City competition and came home with a 4th place and 2nd place award (first time not winning 1st place which was a good learning experience for them to have highs and lows but continue to move forward positively).

They also marched in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown St. Louis which was a very big parade and the girls had a blast. The weather was the perfect for a march down Market street in downtown St. Louis.

We are currently preparing to march in the Florissant Valley of Flowers parade, which is in our local neighborhood and should be a great time.


Mera (Marquita's daughter) wrote a letter to the Valley of Flowers committe for a contest they were having. The parade is on Mother's Day so they wanted to select a mom in the community to be this years parade marshal. Well, we received a call from the committee informing us that her letter was selected and I will be this years Valley of Flowers parade marshal. Past parade marshals included Lou Brock, Miss Missouri, and a host of other notable folks so I was super excited to be chosen. Mera highlighted all of my work I have done with the twirlers and the community in her letter.

I have received a call from the Florissant Community news today and they would like to do a cover story on my work in the community and me being the parade marshal this year.

One of my twirl moms, Kay (that you all worked with to surprise me) received a call today from her daughter's school district. They want to feature her in the district newsletter as a student who is doing something positve and exciting outside of school. Kay left work earlier and took batons and medals to school for a photo and they will be interviewed today.

On May 22nd we will also be peforming at a Minor League baseball game, The River City Rascals. The girls will perform on the field during the 2nd and 6th inning breaks and out front of the ball park before the game begins.

I have my parents sending me photos and videos of all the events we have done and will stay up late compiling them all so you all can update your slides. Sorry so long but the Twirl Girlz have been a busy bunch. We can't wait to bring in new girls this summer and work them into our scheduled performances for next year.

Enjoy your day! Marquita"

March 1, 2011

Marquita sent us photos of some of the uniforms, props, and equipment she has received so far. The Twirl Girlz will be traveling to Kansas City for a competition this weekend... Best of luck to Marquita and the Twirl Girlz!

click the image to see a slideshow

December 17, 2010

Marquita sent an email updating us on all the positive things that have happened since the announcement of her grant. The Elsevier Connect article she mentions generated several positive comments which are posted on the right (names were withheld by the paper).

"My company has an electronic newsletter called Elsevier Connect that gets delivered to all Elsevier employees (24 countries). The editor of Elsevier Connect interviewed me this week and published an article today. I have not gotten any work done today because everyone is coming up to me and emailing me encouraging words. They say this story is an inspiration. I have had people contacting me from California, Amsterdam, New York, and all over saying they were inspired by this story. It's really surreal. I even received an email from a managing editor in Maryland who says she just dropped a check in the mail to my attention to help the Twirl Girlz pay for their hotel rooms when we travel to Kansas City in March.

A lady in inventory management teaches cheerleading at her church and wants to know if the Twirl Girlz would guest appear at one of her practices and put on a show for her 39 cheerleaders.

An employee who used to twirl the flag and rifle in high school emailed to tell me if I was ever interested in teaching girls either of those, she is willing to dust off her old equipment and help out. Another lady asked if she could bring snacks or sandwiches to the girls on the days they compete. It is amazing how one act of kindness has had this domino affect. We are in serious practice mode now for our March competition. The holiday parade was a lot of fun. There was actually a picture of us (Suburban Journals) in the paper for that also. As I look at the photo and they all have on mixed matched sweaters and a variation of red sweat pants, it made me smile to know that I will now be able to outfit them for a sense of continuity.

Oh, I just got an email from the Senior Manager of Global Communications in New York, they want to produce a little feature film segment for our company TV Channel that features this story after the holidays. They are going to create a local St. Louis team (director, producer, interviewer) to put it all together. This is amazing. Hearing all of these people say this story is inspiring and job well done is worth way more than money could buy."

Take Care,

December 1, 2010

Marquita received a surprise phone call from me just before the girls’ regular weekly practice session. Kay Cobbs, whose 9-year-old daughter, Kayla, is one of the twirlers, helped set up the surprise call and suggested doing it at practice because the whole team would be there as well as their parents. Kay and Marquita first met when their daughters went to pre-K together and they have since become best friends. Marquita’s daughter, Mera, who is 9 years old, was also there for practice. Kay put me on her speakerphone and when I gave Marquita the good news, I could hear everyone applauding in the gym. After my call, the girls started their practice to get ready for a parade on Saturday. I hope their next parade will be in their brand new uniforms.

click the image to see a slideshow

12/01/10: Jenny wrote... "Marquita, you're bringing fun, exercise, teamwork, discipline - so many good things to these girls - and best of all you're giving them a role model to emulate. Kudos."

12/01/10: Damon wrote... "Congratulations, Marquita. I look forward to helping you purchase everything you requested for the Twirl Girlz. Thanks for making a difference in your community."

12/02/10: Jeutaun Jones wrote... "Thanks so much for all you do for the girls!!!!!! I really appreciate you helping my daughter Kaela with baton twirling!!! It is amazing the transformation that has taken place in every girl on the squad!!!! I want to also thank Jenny for picking you for one of her heroes because you so deserve it!!!!!"

12/03/10: Tempest Richardson wrote... "Hey Marquita, I just want to let you know, I’ve always thought what you are doing with the girls was great. After last night I was very excited for you and the team. That is a great accomplishment, all of your hard work and efforts, and being blessed in such a big way, says a lot about you and your endeavor. Thank you for all that you do."

12/06/10: Jan Waters wrote... "Wow, Marquita, that is incredible news for an incredible person! I am so impressed with your efforts, and even more impressed with the outcomes! You are changing lives!!"

12/17/10: (Name withheld) wrote... "I just read about the recognition you’re getting from Twirl Girlz, and wanted to congratulate you on the work you’re doing with the girls! I was also in marching band in high school and college (in the color guard), so I know how much it means to have a positive female role model as an instructor and leader for an activity in the performing arts. If you ever want to add a flag or rifle line to Twirl Girlz, I could try to pick up my skills again."

12/17/10: (Name withheld) wrote... "I wanted to say that I read your article and was truly inspired by what you are doing. Reaching girls whose parents cannot afford outside activities is so important! I still remember the only extra-curricular activity I was involved in after school when I was in Junior High and how it gave me something to look forward to -- I was so disappointed when it was over. You ARE making a great impact -- you are giving these girls an opportunity to build their self-esteem, to realize how special they are and through hard work they can accomplish anything. I would like to know how I could get you a donation and who to make it payable to."

12/17/10: (Name withheld) wrote... "My favorite quote is "Twirl Girlz are learning discipline, confidence, resilience and 'how to win and lose with class.' I think everyone can agree that this is important, for all people. This is, simply, great and inspiring - congratulations, Marquita."

12/29/10: Katie Vance wrote... "Congratulations Marquita! I am so happy for you and your girls. You deserve it! Your hard work and determination for the Twirl Girlz is amazing. You are a wonderful role model. It is outstanding that you are not only helping your community but helping each one of the girls on your squad to feel a sense of accomplishment and building their confidence. Congrats! It is well deserved!"