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Region Stories

These stories illustrate how early childhood programs and services funded by First Things First make a difference for young children and families in communities across Arizona.

Access to safe, quality child care gives family a boost

​​​​​How does a single father raise three little girls and hold a job? For the family of Safford resident Joshua, the First United Methodist Preschool Daycare Program and a Quality First scholarship made all the difference.

“Josh came into my office explaining he needed child care for his youngest daughter,” said Corrina Schaefer, the preschool director. “His babysitter had bailed out on him, and he was actually bringing Kylee to work with him. He was afraid of losing his job.”

The family was new to the community. Josh had taken a cut in pay for a new job that allowed him more time with his daughters since he would no longer have to work weekends. He found that there was room for Kylee in the preschool’s 4-year-old program and that the family also qualified for a scholarship.

Scholarships are available to qualifying families whose children attend any of the five child care centers in the Graham-Greenlee region that participate in Quality First, a signature program of First Things First. The scholarships help families afford high-quality early learning experiences for their young children.

“As I drove away from the building on Kylee’s first day of child care, I stopped the car in the parking lot and just broke down,” said Josh. “I finally felt relief. My child was in a safe place with people who cared for her. I can’t describe the feeling. At last we were headed in the right direction.”

This was Kylee’s first experience with a preschool program. Her father reports that she loves her teachers and her new friends. “I save everything she brings home each day,” said her proud dad.

Josh is a believer in paying it forward. He noticed that the church had received new basketball equipment but had no court. Josh’s boss agreed to provide the equipment to build a court at no cost. Josh and other volunteers worked on Saturdays to build the court, which is also used for the preschool kids to ride their tricycles. “I feel so good about giving back to this program,” he said. “My family owes them so much.”

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