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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.

Donna Barisich is the 2021 Phoenix South Champion

Donna Barisich has been selected as the 2021 First Things First Phoenix South 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.

Barisich, who is Vice President of American College of Nurse-Midwives Arizona Affiliate, has supported First Things First for more than a year. She has participated in various ways to bring awareness to families about the importance of early childhood.  One of the first things she did was add an FTF link as a parent resource to the American College of Nurse-Midwives Arizona Affiliate website.

Barisich has also represented FTF at community events. She also helped FTF outreach by connecting them with obstetrics health providers in the FTF Phoenix, Northwest Maricopa, and East Maricopa regions to encourage the providers to place FTF’s First Things magazine, which provides articles for expectant mothers, tips for new parents and information about FTF resources in their office’s waiting rooms.

We recently caught up with Barisich.

Question: Why do you feel early childhood development and health are important?

Answer: It is critical to focus on early childhood development and health because it sets the child’s foundation for a successful, healthy productive life.

Question: How do you suggest other people in your community get involved?

Answer: This can eventually be the grassroots for our state. We need to involve groups such as mother groups, church groups and post-partum support groups. We need to exchange and share information amongst young families. Connecting with these groups and programs will provide support to young families, who may not have the resources to give their child the best start possible. 

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