October 14, 2013

Big Kid Award goes to Mary Williams of Boone, NC

In North Carolina, the Boone Optimist Club has a tradition of honoring a local person for the impact that they have had on children over their lifetime. The recognition is known as the Big Kid Award.

This year that very special honor went to Mary Williams. For twenty-seven years, she has worked with students with special needs in the Watauga County school system. She's written and received grants totaling a quarter of a million dollars in order to start-up and maintain programs for this special population.

One of the most successful programs involves about 400 families each year as special needs parents are matched with other special needs parents to create a bond where they can share mutual experiences and learn from one another. Most of all, the "Parent to Parent" program provides a support system for parents, families and individuals with disabilities.

Most recently, she's started "Coffee Talk" where the special needs students are taught meaningful skills from shopping to making and serving coffee and accompanying items. During "Coffee Talk" events, the students raise funds which are then contributed to the adaptive PE program and other nonprofit causes in the area.

It sounds like Mary Williams has a big heart to match her newly granted "Big Kid" status. On behalf of all Optimist Club members, allow me to say, congratulations!

Photo and story contributed by the Boone Optimist Club.
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