Amanda Clark has been selected as the 2020 First Things First Coconino Champion for Young Children.
The award is given to local champions who actively volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health. Champions spend a significant amount of time volunteering with FTF and building public awareness about the importance of early childhood issues.
As a Registered Medical Assistant at Lake Powell Medical Center, Clark has trained 10 medical assistants between Canyonlands Medical Center and Lake Powell Medical Center and Urgent Care to share about the importance of early childhood. This ensures that all the parents and caregivers receiving services at these facilities are getting the message that quality early childhood experiences make a difference in preparing babies, toddlers and preschoolers for success in school and life.
Clark has also aided in efforts in Diné language revitalization in her area by distributing age-appropriate bilingual books in Diné and English to families of young children. Many families in Page are Diné, and we know that an important element of language revitalization is making sure that happens in the homes of children before they enter kindergarten.
We recently caught up with Clark, who lives in Page.
Question: Why do you feel early childhood development and health is important?
Answer: I feel that early childhood development and health is important to help prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. It helps to keep them out of poverty and to deal with life.
Question: How do you suggest other people in your community get involved?
Answer: Have learning workshops for parents, so they know to interact with their children. I feel that most parents, especially the younger generation parents do not know how to play/talk with their children.