Students walking into a university building

Helping children thrive

Team members Chad Parker and Julia Denkmann support vital after-school programs that are closing the achievement gap. 

Baker Tilly Wishes brings the resources of our firm and our people together to tackle big issues. Learn how two team members invest their time to help their neighbors. 

Starting on the right path

When Chad Parker, supervisor in our Pennsylvania/West Virginia Commercial Tax practice, was asked to serve as the treasurer for the Bob Burdette Center, it wasn’t the first time a not-for-profit had requested his skillset.  

“I’ve been offered so many volunteer treasurer positions that I have had to turn them down,” Chad said. “But I knew the Bob Burdette Center had an amazing mission, and I was so excited to be a part of it.” 

The Bob Burdette Center, in Charleston, West Virginia, provides after-school and summer programming for at-risk children. With a commitment to eradicating childhood hunger, the center provides a safe learning environment, free meals, and engagement with positive role models like athletes and elected officials. 

Operating out of four locations, the Bob Burdette Center also provides an all-day summer program. 

“The summer program helps students develop essential life skills like gardening and canning,” Chad said. “The kids love to pick their own produce, and they don’t always have opportunities like this at home.” 

Funding for the organization comes primarily from donations and grants, some of which require the organization to maintain a certain ratio of teachers to students. As a result, the organization’s only limitation to serving more children is having enough funding to hire more instructors.  

The $10,000 Baker Tilly Wishes grant will go towards expanding their summer staff.  

Empowering children with essential skills

Empowering children with essential skills

Consultant Julia Denkmann first volunteered with Like a Lion during her freshman year of college and witnessed how impactful the program is on young students. 

“With a focus on academic, emotional and life skills, students learn how to deal with feelings and process situations in a healthy manner,” Julia said.  

Serving approximately 50 students in Indianapolis from kindergarten to eighth grade, the organization’s after-school programming includes academic tutoring and socialization opportunities. During the summer program, students learn additional subjects like cooking, science and robotics.

Volunteers donate meals to ensure students have dinner, and students receive breakfast, lunch and snacks during the summer. 

For Julia, the biggest reward is seeing the students make new friends.  

“A lot of them don’t want to leave Like a Lion, and some have even returned as volunteers,” she said.  

The $10,000 Baker Tilly Wishes grant will help Like a Lion provide more academic services and warm meals for students.