Coach Damon Parker kicks off The Jones Project mental health tour

Damon Parker had just finished giving his speech at Council Grove Jr/Sr High School when the most phenomenal thing happened.

Students began to line up, outside the auditorium, hoping to get a few moments to thank the former wrestling coach for talking about mental health and sharing their own experiences and struggles with the issue.

Parker was gobsmacked. He had gotten into education years ago to make a difference in children’s lives, and to start touring Kansas high schools through The Jones Project would mean, at least in some part, giving up that original dream.

But as Parker chatted with scores of Council Grove teens, he knew he had found his purpose again.

“I knew it would take something special to take me away from (teaching), and this is the one thing that could have done it,” Parker said. “I’m still working with kids, but it’s just on a bigger scale.”

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