The University of Memphis will kick off the Parent & Family Weekend event beginning Nov. 1, in which Parent and Family Services will announce the winner of the 2019 Parent of the Year Award.
All families who are nominated will receive a congratulatory letter as well a copy of the essay submitted by their students. The winners are invited to attend the Parent & Family Weekend Homecoming Parade. Lindsey Brady, the senior coordinator for Parent and Family Services, said the nomination allows students to honor the families that have supported them.
“The purpose is to allow students to honor and thank their family members who have helped them along their journey to where they are today,” Brady said.
Brady said a committee of parent and family services staff members are charged with the task of choosing the winning family based on certain criteria. Once the decision has been made, the winner is honored during family weekend and will be invited to join the homecoming parade.
Parent and family services have been honoring students family’s at the UofM for 10 years, and the department loves giving students the chance to honor their parents.
“All of our nominees receive a letter from us even if they are not selected as family of the year,” Brady said. “We really want to give students a chance to give back to their family and really showcase how they have helped them get to where they are today.”
Cameron Voker, a freshman at the UofM, said she has always looked up to her aunt.
“She was basically like my godmother for the majority of my life when I lived in Memphis,” Voker said. “She worked from an early age, retired at the age of 50 and has just been a really hard worker.
Voker said her aunt and uncle played a very big role in the person she is today.
“My aunt and uncle are very Christian and go to church every Sunday,” Voker said. “They’ve really helped with my values and helped shape me into the woman that I am today in terms of my Christian beliefs and treating people with kindness and respect.”
Mia Stephens, a senior at the UofM, said she always looked up to her great-grandfather. Her great-grandfather, now deceased, was an entrepreneur during the Great Depression and provided for his family by selling everyday objects he found.
“Selling things was his means of bringing in an income during a time when it was very difficult to source a job,” Stephens said. “He inspired me to constantly look for ways to better myself, provide for myself and to put myself out there even though I may be uncomfortable. Without him, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Parent and Family Weekend begins Friday, Nov. 1 with the homecoming parade scheduled. The weekend will conclude with a brunch presented by the Alumni Association and Parent & Family Association on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the University Center Ballroom.