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GRADS program honors Dee Dee Staley’s memory

The Lawrence County GRADS program honored the memory of Dee Dee Staley by presenting a rocking chair to the First Baptist Church of Ironton.

Staley was a GRADS Advisory member and contributed greatly during her 25-year association with the teen parenting program.

GRADS instructor Joan Reed spoke at the April 16 dedication informing church members and teen parents of the long collaboration between GRADS and the First Baptist Church through Dee Dee Staley.

Twenty-five years ago Staley and church members contributed items for newly parenting teen moms and babies; later this was coordinated through the Huntington YWCA and GRADS.

Nineteen years ago Staley and the church began hosting the GRADS Parent/Child Involvement Day, otherwise known as Baby Day.

This yearly event at First Baptist brings teen parents and their children for a day of entertaining Baby Olympics and informative educational sessions. A turkey dinner is prepared by members for teens, babies and guest speakers.

Reed introduced teen mom Stephanie and her son, Caleb, for an additional testimonial.

Stephanie said, “This is our fourth Baby Day and the first one where Caleb will not be rocked by Miss Dee Dee.”

As Caleb sat and rocked in the chair his mom recalled Staley’s obvious enjoyment of all the babies.

“Miss Dee Dee’s kind smile and encouraging words will be missed by future GRADS students,” Stephanie said.

Caleb then cut the ribbon and dedicated the rocking chair to the memory of Dee Dee Staley.