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Lara Jane Parker Awards 

The Lara Jane Parker Awards Program provides both reward and recognition to outstanding individuals who work daily to improve the lives of New Voices children. These people improve their schools and communities to allow these children to be fully included in all aspects of their lives.

Parents, community leaders, legislators, school administrators, and volunteers are eligible for the Advocacy Award.


Winners are honored at an annual ceremony with a $500 cash award, a special trophy, and a letter of commendation will be bestowed upon the winners at this prestigious event attended by family, peers, leaders and the community.

Award for Excellence: Individuals who have direct instructional or therapeutic contact with a school-aged child with communication and physical challenges are eligible for nomination.


Nominees must be from one of the following school districts/counties:

  • Alamance/Burlington

  • Chatham

  • Durham

  • Harnett

  • Johnston

  • Lee

  • Moore

  • Orange

  • Wake

  • Chapel Hill—Carrboro City Schools


Possible nominees include:

  • Teachers

  • Special Educators

  • Speech and Language Pathologists

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Physical Therapists

  • Assistive Technologists.

Award for Advocacy: This award recognizes individuals who advocate for children with communication and physical challenges in our schools or community. These individuals promote inclusion, and communication and literacy development, by their actions and support of children with significant communication and physical challenges. Nominees need not be employed by the public schools.


Possible nominees include:

  • School Administrators

  • Principals

  • School Support Personnel

  • Community Leaders

  • Legislators

  • Parents

  • Volunteers

Lara Jane Parker was born on April 1, 1971 and did not breathe for her first fifteen minutes. Her parents were told that she had little chance of surviving, but she did. 


At nine months, Lara was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Lara was unable to walk, speak, or use her hands in any purposeful way.


As limiting as her physical abilities were, she went on to live in her own apartment, receive her undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill and serve on several state and local committees, as an advocate for developmental disabilities. 

The Award for Advocacy honors Talbert L. Black, an advocate for children and New Voices Board Member. 

His career focused on improving services and programs for young children with disabilities. He was a leader for national early childhood technical assistance programs at the UNC Chapel Hill Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute for over 35 years. 

In his retirement, he was the Vice Chair of the founding Board of Directors of New Voices Foundation.  He was instrumental in the establishment of the Foundation in 2006 and provided guidance for the provision of model school-based services, teacher professional development, technology, training, and community advocacy programs.

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