Capital Region

Latham woman named Mother of the Year at Albany’s Tulip Fest

Marilyn Kippins honored for her dedication to family, poor village in Ghana
Marylin Kippins, center, poses for a photograph with two of her sons, Michael, of Boston, left, and Shawn, of Hoboken, N.J.
Marylin Kippins, center, poses for a photograph with two of her sons, Michael, of Boston, left, and Shawn, of Hoboken, N.J.

An Albany Tulip Festival tradition continued Sunday  as the winner of the 21st Annual Mother of The Year contest was crowned. 

On a day meant to celebrate all mothers, five special Capital Region women stood on the Washington Park Lakehouse Stage in Albany, each holding massive and colorful flower bouquets, waiting to see who would receive the title.

Out of the dozens of applications received each year for Mother of the Year, the final five were selected and ranked based on a point system by a panel of judges. Nominees are judged by their commitment to their families, as well as their commitment to doing a variety of work in their respective communities.

The woman who received the highest number of points, Marylin Kippins of Latham, was crowned champion. The annual competition is sponsored by St. Peter’s Health Partners with support from Fidelis Care.

Nominees are often entered into the contest by a close friend or family member. Kippins was nominated by her friend Dwight Williams, who, prior to the announcement of her win, stood on stage to read a brief biography about her that touched on why she was nominated.

A single mother of four college educated sons, Kippins began to make waves in 2014 when some light was shone on the foundation that her mother established. Marylin has since taken the helm of the organization, the Flora E. Kippins Foundation.

Since 2005, the people of Ghana have benefited from the foundation, which has been responsible for bringing a water pipeline to villagers. As a result of her fundraising success and her efforts to help, Kippins was named Nana Ama Sam, or Village Queen of the village that her foundation helped.

Kippin’s next fundraising efforts will provide villagers with a health center, a dire necessity in a place where most people have to travel hours and hours to just get access to medical care, she said.

“It’s really a great honor. I love children. I have four of my own. Every child needs to have a chance,” Kippins said after winning her award. Of her four sons, two of were on hand to watch their mother receive the recognition. Her sons are 36, 32, 30, and 27 years old.

Kippins credited her own mother with instilling in her the drive to give back to anyone, even people who live thousands of miles away on the other side of the world.

“My mother was always a giving person,” she said.

Kippins added however, that most is her work is usually done behind the scenes, and Sunday’s attention was slightly out of the norm for her.

“I have no problems getting my hands dirty, but I’m always behind the scenes,” she said.

At the end of of the day, she added, while the award was a huge honor for her, she’s looking ahead to immediately getting to work on her health clinic endeavor, with no time to waste.

“I’m always traveling everywhere,” she said.

The four other finalists included Kathleen Purello, of Schenectady, who was nominated by her daughter; Michelle Stark of Glenville, who was also nominated by her daughter; Maria Rosa Tabora of Albany; and Wanda Wilson, also of Albany.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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