Cathy Parker had absolutely no idea her life was about to change. But on a Sunday morning as her family was getting ready for church, her kids saw a story on ESPN. It was so compelling, they called out to mom & dad. They had to come see this.

“It was about this struggling community in Alaska – in the most northern part – and how they had started a football program to help with some of the problems they had. Kids not wanting to stay in school & getting involved in things that kids can do when they have a lot of time on their hands.”

“But it was, unlike where we were in sunny Florida, it was on the frozen tundra. They can’t grow grass, so they played on a gravel football field. And only two kids on the team had ever played the sport before. They had to fly to play every opponent, and it was just obstacle after obstacle. But I knew, I told my husband, that football program – it’s going to save their lives.”

As unlikely as it was, an idea started to form. And she continued to feel a nudge she couldn’t ignore.

“It was just one of those things I couldn’t let go. I had a background making presentations, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to put together a little binder and take it to Under Armor or one of those big companies that can write a check and be done with this. Of course, it didn’t happen anything like that.”

“I told my family, ‘I’ve got an announcement. We’re going to raise the money to give them an artificial turf field like ours. My son looked at me & said, ‘Mom! That’s ridiculous! You can’t do it. There’s no roads going into that place!’

But Cathy was certain this was the mission God had for her. So she started sharing the message with anyone who would listen. And amazing things started to happen.

“People started coming on board to help us, and all I did was just talk about it. People just started to help, just ordinary people. I can help in this way, and I can help in that way. We had an architect come on board. We had a transportation specialist. Just on and on and on. People that volunteered their resources, their expertise, and we just fit it all together.”

Cathy Parker is the author of Northern Lights: One Woman, Two Teams, and the Football Field That Changed Their Lives.

On the Road with Cathy Parker

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