Who We Are
Founder & CEO
Jon Parker, is a licensed professional counselor, life coach, and currently a PhD student. He is driven by a passion for fostering healing and revitalization within individuals and their communities. Holding a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, Jon's educational journey began at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts.
With a solid foundation in psychology, complemented by his international travels and research pursuits, Jon possesses a unique perspective that recognizes the intricate interdependence of humanity. This understanding serves as the guiding principle behind the Baleka Wellness Model, which aims to unite people and communities through the transformative power of nature and sports.
Beyond his academic pursuits, Jon is an enthusiastic runner and outdoorsman, drawn to the rejuvenating energy of nature. His connection with the land extends even further, as he cultivates his own farm. Jon's current research delves into the integration of nature-based interventions to enhance mental health outcomes, a reflection of his commitment to harnessing nature's potential for healing and well-being.
Jacob Parker is a former college athlete and fitness enthusiast who strives to create human connections within the community. His passion for individual and community development paved the way for various mentor and leadership opportunities. Jacob graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Business and went on to serve in a leadership role as the Competitive Sports intern at Cornell University.
Jacob was born and raised in East Saint Louis, IL, but has claimed many places as home, living in several different states and in French Riviera. Currently in Washington D.C. he is eager to invest in bringing the DMV community together through health and wellness advocacy and fellowship with the BALEKA Athletics Club.
Boitumelo Itumeleng is an avid runner, outdoors enthusiast, and a student of the culinary arts and hospitality management. She formally studied at South West Gauteng College but began cultivating her love for health and wellness long before her time there. Her upbringing in Kimberley (Northern Cape), South Africa, is where her passion for community development began.
Boitumelo has had the opportunity to travel to various provinces in South Africa including Cape Town, Northern Cape, and the Free State but most of her youth was spent living in Johannesburg. Throughout her travels, wherever Boitumelo has called home, she has been intentional in sharing her resources as well as passing on numerous life skills. Boitumelo has mentored and volunteered in various community centers and was instrumental in the success of a feeding scheme at a youth center in Kliptown, Johannesburg.
Combining her formal training with her passion for educating youth, Boitumelo partnered with Jon Parker to begin BALEKA Athletics Club in late 2018. The forming of BAC saw Boitumelo flourish in her gifting as a chef, a mentor, a tour guide, and big sister to numerous youth. Boitumelo has dedicated her life to investing in the betterment of her community and leads by example through living an active and healthy lifestyle. She was instrumental in the formation of BALEKA and continues to lead the local chapters in South Africa.