|Samantha McCain, Children's Center communication coordinator
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi recently presented the Marley Taylor Community Partner Award to alumnus David Cullop with Newk's of Hattiesburg.
When Cullop’s son graduated from the program, he sought a way to give back to the Center, with longevity. As the manager of Newk’s, he established a monthly profit share. Since 2011, the endeavor has donated more than $15,000.
“We are thankful for David's continued support,” said Center director, Sarah Case-Price. "His commitment to the future of the Center is awe-inspiring and presenting him with this award was a no-brainer.”
Cullop is the first recipient of the award, which will be presented annually to a community partner who demonstrates the same passion for life held by the award’s namesake – Marley Taylor.
Taylor graduated from the Center in 2013; and in 2015, she received her angel wings. Taylor made a lasting impact on the Center and the other children she shared therapy sessions with, including Cullop’s son.
“I am humbled to be recognized for an award named after a child who shared a bond with my son, and who stole the hearts of every person she interacted with,” said Cullop. “The Children’s Center changed our lives for the better. Choosing to do the monthly give-back was an easy decision, but to receive an award named in the memory of Marley... I’m honored.”
This year's award presentation occurred at the Center’s Fall Open House, an event held to recognize donors while providing them an opportunity to meet families and staff. Taylor’s family was also in attendance.
“This was a special night in the life of the Center. Recognizing a valued community partner, while remembering a special little girl, is something we won’t forget,” said Case-Price. “We have so many deserving community partners and we look forward to sharing Marley’s legacy of strength, courage and bravery with them through this award.”
The Children’s Center provides communication and developmental services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers while educating, training and supporting families, university students and professionals. For more information, visit www.usm.edu/childrenscenter.