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Kathy Parham presents the overall 2013 Great Friend to Families Award to Jim Atkinson at last
year’s celebration luncheon.
File photo

Originally published: 2014-01-20 12:53:28
Last modified: 2014-01-20 12:54:14

Nominations open for Great Friend to Families awards

by Sherrie Norris

The Children's Playhouse of Boone is once again calling attention to dedicated community members who make a difference in the lives of children and their families through the Great Friend to Families awards. 

Nominations are now being accepted for that person (or persons) who has gone the extra mile to improve life for others. 

Established initially as one award, the Great Friend to Families honor has recently been divided into two separate categories that recognize sustained contributions by individuals for the well-being of young children and their families in the High Country area. 

One overall winner will also be recognized for exceptional service.

The Helping Hands award celebrates those who assist families through their careers; Helping Hearts honors individuals who lend a hand through generous philanthropy  or outstanding volunteerism.

Now in its sixth year, this annual recognition has become "a great way to say thank you to those who have made a positive impact in area families," Kathy Parham, executive director of the Playhouse, said.

 "It might be a teacher, doctor, nurse, coach, social worker, philanthropist or volunteer," she said. "When you think of helping families, who pops into your mind? Don't you think that person deserves some recognition?"
Nominations will be accepted through March 4. 

Winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of community leaders and will be honored at a luncheon on Saturday, March 22; the overall winner will be presented with a framed photograph by the late Dwight Miller and $500 to donate to the High Country nonprofit of their choice. 

Keynote speaker for the awards luncheon will be Charlotte radio personality and author, Sheri Lynch.
 Past overall winners include Judith Winecoff, Pat Morgan, Trish Lanier, Dick and Joan Hearn and Jim Atkinson. A complete list of all past honorees can be seen on the Playhouse website.  

Event coordinators stipulate that while a Helping Hands or Helping Hearts honoree may be recognized multiple times, he or she may win the overall Great Friend to Families Award only once.

The luncheon will raise awareness and funds to support family resource services at The Children's Playhouse, enabling the children's museum to provide scholarship memberships to low-income families, offer more programs for children and improve the facility's exhibits.

Sponsorships for the event are still being accepted. Individuals and local businesses are invited to be a part of this unique way to honor those who make life better for others, Parham said.  

Nomination forms are available online at They may also be requested by calling The Children's Playhouse at (828) 263-0011. 

For more information, contact Parham at (  

Tickets to the luncheon will go on sale in March.

The Children's Playhouse

A nonprofit children's museum founded in 2002, The Children's Playhouse provides an enriching play environment for children from birth to age 8, while at the same time offering parents and caregivers support in the important job of raising children. It is located at 400 Tracy Circle near downtown Boone.
 Daily admission is $5 per person plus tax. A one-year Playhouse passport membership for $125 includes admission to The Playhouse and half-price admission to more than 150 children's museums nationwide. 

Scholarship memberships are available for families that meet income guidelines. 

The Children's Playhouse is supported in part by grants from the Barnickel Foundation, Watauga County, the High Country Women's Fund, the Watauga Legacy Fund, the High Country United Way, Boone Service League and individual donations.   

For more information, call (828) 263-0011, find Children's Playhouse on Facebook or visit the website,