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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.

Faith Ethelbah is White Mountain Apache Tribe’s 2018 Champion for Young Children

Faith Ethelbah

Faith Ethelbah has been selected as the 2018 White Mountain Apache Tribe First Things First 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.

Ethelbah has engaged in awareness-raising efforts such as:

  • shared early childhood information at community events.
  • incorporating early childhood components into programs and events facilitated by WMAT Division of Health Programs.
  • inviting First Things First staff to present at community events and internal staff events.

We recently caught up with Ethelbah, who works with White Mountain Apache Tribe Division of Health Programs.

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

Answer: We know that parents are the first and best teachers and we want to start teaching and engaging kids at an early age, from the moment they’re born.  The most important interaction babies have is with their mothers, fathers and siblings.  I had a small room set up for my kids when they were young where we would draw pictures of our relatives and talk about who they were and where we come from. When they entered school I felt they were more confident in expressing themselves because of this.  Communication is crucial from birth for the overall success of children.

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

Answer: The best way to get involved is by sharing information about early childhood and messages that support engaging young children.  As a community, we have to make supporting young children and their families a priority. In our community, many families struggle and things like reading to our children can fall off the radar.

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