October 7, 2020
YWCA Celebrates Grand Opening of April Autrey Deal Literacy Center in its Child Development Center
Family members often recount stories to remember those they loved and lost. That’s exactly what the family of the late April Autrey Deal did during a literacy center dedication in her honor on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. Deal's sister Emily Cooper, along with her husband Sam Cooper, joined cousins Ann and George McMillan to honor the legacy Deal left behind at the YW, fondly remembering the years she spent enthusiastically reading to the children of YWCA Central Alabama's Child Development Center, often dressing in costume and bringing along goodies to share. She embodied the YW’s mission and selflessly worked to empower women, eliminate racism, and strengthen families.
The April Autrey Deal Literacy Center, with its child-friendly reading spaces and stacks of books, stands as a testament to Deal’s distinguished service to her community as a member of YWCA Board of Directors, as the YW’s Planned Giving Coordinator, and as Co-Chair and Steering Committee member for Purse & Passion. The 2020 Purse & Passion Medallion Award was posthumously presented to Deal for her outstanding contributions to the greater Birmingham community and her avid support of YWCA programs.
Emily Cooper, who cut the ribbon at Tuesday’s ceremony, reminisced about her sister’s love for the YW and its youngest clients. George McMillan discussed his cousin’s work to impart love of literature on adults as well as children. A few of Deal’s favorite things are in the new literacy center – a photo of her taken by a child development teacher, a quote from The Velveteen Rabbit and a copy of a book she loved to read as children gathered around her.
It's a fitting and proper way to remember one who has given so much so selflessly, her family said before expressing their gratitude to all who donated to the YW in memory of Deal.
Also present for the literacy center's grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony were the YW's Board President Maggie Brooke, board member Brenda Hackney, CEO Dr. LaRhonda Magras and Associate VP Jamekia Bies. To learn how you can get involved with YWCA Central Alabama, visit ywcabham.org/get-involved.