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Director honored for work with parent to parent program

BOONE — Kaaren Hayes, director of the Parent to Parent Family Support of the High Country, has received the Ann Royal Special Recognition for Lifetime Achievement Award from the Leo M. Croghan Memorial Foundation.

Hayes was honored for her years of dedicated service to children and families.

Hayes started working with Parent to Parent Family Support Network of the High Country, a grant-supported community program of Appalachian State University, when it began in 1988. The program is based on the philosophy that families who have a child with special needs have significant expertise that can be of benefit to other families and to service providers.

The program connects these families, offers information and sponsors workshops, training and support groups. It serves hundreds of families and service providers each year.

One of Hayes’ nominators wrote, “…families and professionals agree that Parent to Parent has thrived and grown because of Kaaren’s dedication, hard work and unerring belief in the program. Parent to Parent has grown from serving Watauga County to serving Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties as well… Kaaren has been the force behind the development and continuation of all of these aspects of the program…. The quality of life for many families and children has been improved because of Kaaren’s work with Parent to Parent.”

Parent to Parent Family Support of the High Country is affiliated with Family Support Network of North Carolina, Children’s Developmental Services Agency of the Blue Ridge and High Country United Way.

For more information about Parent to Parent Family Support of the High Country, visit or call (828) 262-6089.

The Leo M. Croghan Memorial Foundation promotes education in developmental disability through an annual conference for parents and providers, and through scholarships for continuing education.