Devotion to kids earns Staylor Athena honor

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

In early February, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy headmaster Doug Naismith stepped into Gin Staylor’s office at Growing Up at Obici, a facility behind the hospital where more than 100 of the staff’s children are cared for every day.

He told her that her friend, Virginia Dare Fisher, had nominated her for the 2004 Athena Award, presented every February to local women who have gone the extra mile and beyond to help local women realize their potential, and devoted time and energy in the most meaningful of ways.

Even better, he told her that in January, the Suffolk division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce had and made her the honor’s 18th recipient.

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It was an award for her years of devotion to local kids. Her co-founding of the Early Childhood Development Commission. Her co-chairmanship of the Catch ‘Em Early program, designed to promote literacy among youths. Her co-chairmanship of the Parenting Network, which, among other things, runs parenting videos on Suffolk’s community channel from 6:30 to 7 p.m. every night. Her starting of the annual Children’s Assistance and Resource Event (C.A.R.E. Fair), which teaches health and safety. And her 12 years of running the Growing Up facility.

&uot;I just felt like she has worked all of her working career with children,&uot; said Fisher. &uot;She does it because she enjoys children. It’s not just a job for her. I thought she deserved to be recognized as an asset to the community. She’s contributing to our Suffolk community and helping our young children, and that’s our future. She wants to see them succeed.&uot;

On Feb. 24, Staylor headed to NSA to receive the award, sponsored by Duke Oldsmobile.

&uot;Children are so wonderful,&uot; said the mother of three and grandmother of two. &uot;It’s so rewarding to see them grow. I just feel strongly that little kids need to be cared for in a loving way so they can go to school ready to learn.

&uot;I was very highly honored,&uot; she said of winning. &uot;I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I had joined an elite group of women that have worked hard to make the city better, and it did my heart really good to know that I was as honored as they had been. This is not an easy job, but it’s fun and very rewarding.&uot;