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STEP, Inc. Announces the 2016 Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Recipient

Photo:  Linda Burrows

STEP, Inc. (Support & Training for Exceptional Parents) which houses the federally  funded Parent Training and Information Center,  presents the Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of person who has exemplified using information to assist their own child, or someone else’s child,  with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education. STEP also seeks recipients who have demonstrated teamwork and collaboration and the zeal to share information with others. This year’s award is being presented in the format of a lifetime achievement award for many years spent creating brighter futures for children and youth with disabilities and their families. The award is presented in honor and memory of Ms. Linda Burrows.

Linda was a long-time STEP staff member who left behind a legacy of serving others. She spent her life dedicated to raising awareness of the social and educational needs of children, in particular children and youth with disabilities and their families. Linda’s style of empowering families was modeled after her personal advocacy efforts on behalf of her son Charles. She believed in establishing relationships, finding the positive energy and building programs and services around the shared goals of the parents, teachers, and others working to meet the needs of the individual. Linda drew people to her because she was always willing to listen and to help.  Even in challenging situations she laughed often and was vivacious – living every minute with "spunk".  She raised her son Charles to be a loving, caring man and to stand up for his beliefs. Through Linda’s advocacy efforts, Charles, along with countless other individuals with special needs, is now contributing members of their communities.  Accepting this award in memory of Linda Burrows is her son Charles Burrows.  He was presented the award during the recent Tennessee Disability MegaConference in Nashville.

The Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award is in memory of Wayne Parker, a former STEP team member, who was a zealous advocate for the rights of children and families. He worked tirelessly to ensure that families had the information they needed to speak up and advocate for the needs of their children with disabilities. Wayne was also a strong advocate for encouraging young people with disabilities to advocate for the life they wanted. Wayne was well respected by parents and professionals. Wayne was always quick to praise members of school teams when they went above and beyond in their advocacy efforts for students.

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