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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.

Home visitation program prepares Nogales preschooler for kindergarten and beyond

​Nicole Velasquez had heard of the Healthy Families AZ program, which includes home visitation through the family resource center in Nogales, where she took her young daughter for activities.

When Velasquez gave birth to a second daughter, the mom of two knew she wanted to sign up for the voluntary home visitation program, which is funded by the First Things First Santa Cruz Region.

Healthy Families AZ provides a parent coach who visits the family in their home to provide parenting information, teaching strategies and connections to other community resources.

When Velasquez’s daughter Nicole was a newborn, the parent coach would visit every week to share information about developmental milestones. “She really helped us,” Velasquez said. “She listened to our concerns and gave us advice on what to do.”

Now that Nicole is almost age 4, the parent coach visits once a month. Nicole calls her “Teacher.”

Velasquez said she sometimes has to laugh when she thinks that Nicole isn’t paying attention to the tasks that the coach is giving, because then Nicole does everything she’s asked to do.

“She’s listening, even when it looks like she’s not,” Velasquez said. “Everything she is learning will serve her in the future.”

Recently, when Nicole started Head Start, Velasquez felt she was well prepared and said she is grateful for the help the program has given her daughter.

“(The coach) has given her confidence,” she said. “She gives her goals and my daughter achieves them. She can recognize her name, numbers, colors and letters.”

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