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Giovanni featured speaker at Playhouse luncheon Jan. 29

Article Published: Jan. 14, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Giovanni featured speaker at Playhouse luncheon Jan. 29

The first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends" and author of more than 30 books for adults and children, Nikki Giovanni will be the featured speaker at the second annual Great Friend to Families Award luncheon to be held by The Children's Playhouse.

"She is a hero to her many adult and child readers around the world," said Playhouse executive director Kathy Parham of Giovanni, whose recent work, "Rosa," was a Caldecott Honor Book. "So, we are thrilled that she will help us celebrate our 'Hometown Heroes' right here in the High Country."

Held from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, at the High Country Home Builders' Plaza and catered by presenting sponsor Storie Street Grille, this event honors nominees from across the High Country who have made sustained contributions to improve the lives of High Country children and their families, Parham said.

The award winner will be presented with a piece of stained glass and $500 to donate to a High Country charity of their choice. All nominees will be honored at the event.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased on The Playhouse Web site, A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. The luncheon will raise funds to support the nonprofit children's museum, The Children's Playhouse.

Event sponsors are Storie Street Grille,, High Country Home Builders Association, Wachovia/Wells Fargo Company, and Drs. Mayhew, Conn, Scheffler and Hardaway. Media sponsors include Ray's Weather and Todd's Calendar.

Nominations due Jan. 19
The Children's Playhouse is searching for a resident of the High Country whose greatest joy comes from helping kids and families, and will be named the 2010 winner of the Great Friend to Families Award. Community members have just until Jan. 19 to nominate their favorite "Hometown Hero."

The award will recognize sustained contributions by an individual to the well-being of young children and their families in the High Country area. Nomination forms are available online at the Web site, Forms can also be requested by calling The Children's Playhouse at (828) 263-0011.

The winner will be chosen by a committee of local leaders, including last year's winner, Watauga County Children's librarian Judith Winecoff.

Playhouse president Jennefer Spell said that the definition of a "Great Friend to Families" is intentionally broad. The winner might be a teacher, doctor, nurse, coach, social worker, philanthropist, or volunteer. It might be a person who has raised thousands of dollars for High Country charities or someone who has created new programs to meet the needs of local families.
"We are looking for someone who has made significant efforts to make our community a better place for children and families," Parham said.

The response to the first award, given in February 2009, was tremendous, Parham said, adding, "We had 17 nominees, and it was so great to give them all a little of the recognition they deserved."

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