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A Great Friend to Families

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Feb. 20 | Modified: Feb. 20
A Great Friend to Families

From left, Children’s Playhouse executive director Kathy Parham presents the Great Friend of Families Award to Jim Atkinson.

Photo submitted

Thank you.

Those two simple words don’t just make a sign of gratitude — they can make someone’s day.

With its Great Friend to Families Award, The Children’s Playhouse is offering High Country residents the chance to do both.

Established six years ago, the award “recognizes sustained contributions by individuals to the wellbeing of young children and their families in the High Country,” according to the Playhouse, which is a Boone-based, nonprofit children’s museum.

Kathy Parham, executive director of The Children’s Playhouse, said awards will be given in three categories: Helping Hands, who help families throughout their careers; Helping Hearts, who help through philanthropy or volunteerism; and the overall Great Friend to Families.

“It might be a teacher, doctor, nurse, coach, social worker, philanthropist or volunteer,” Parham said in news release. “When you think of helping families, who pops into your mind? Don’t you think that person deserves some recognition?”

The deadline for nominations is March 4, and the award-winners will be honored at a luncheon Saturday, March 22. Parham said the overall winner receives a framed photograph by Dwight Miller and $500 to donate to a local nonprofit organization of his or her choice. The awards ceremony will also feature keynote speaker Sheri Lynch, co-host of radio’s nationally syndicated “The Bob and Sheri Show” and author of two humorous books on parenting.

“The luncheon will also raise 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) exhibits,” Parham said, adding that award sponsorships are still being sought.

Tickets to the awards luncheon will go on sale in March, but nomination forms are available now at or by calling The Children’s Playhouse at (828) 263-0011.

“The nomination form is short and simple and easy to complete,” Parham said. “The winner will be chosen by a distinguished committee of local leaders.”

Previous Great Friend to Families winners include Judith Winecoff, Pat Morgan, Dick and Joan Hearn, Trish Lanier and Jim Atkinson. Parham noted that while a Helping Hands or Helping Hearts honoree may be recognized multiple times, he or she may only win the overall Great Friend to Families award once. A complete list of winners is available at

About The Children’s Playhouse

Founded in 2002, The Children’s Playhouse is located at 400 Tracy Circle near downtown Boone.
According to its official description, it “provides an enriching play environment for children, from birth to age 8, while at the same time offering parents and caregivers friendly support in the important job of raising children.”

For more information, call (828) 263-0011, email ( , or visit or

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