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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 services help Colorado City boy improve verbal skills to start kindergarten on schedule

​​Without the support of home visitation services, Tiffanie Barlow’s son likely would not have started kindergarten on time.

“He was two years old, and he wasn’t responding verbally,” Barlow said. “He wouldn’t look at people when they were talking to him.”

Services are often scarce in rural areas, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Arizona Strip area in far northern Mohave County. For families whose children are exhibiting delays, or even those just looking for a little extra support, home visitation through The Learning Center for Families offers an option for parents for whom transportation–not to mention trust—may be an issue. “I was a little nervous about letting someone into my life and my home, but I was more afraid of what would happen if I didn’t ask for help,” Barlow said.

The Learning Center for Families serves the Colorado City and surrounding area through funding provided by First Things First. It is the only home visitation service available in the Arizona Strip area and is often the first point of contact for families looking for support. Barlow’s home visitor taught the mother-of-three strategies she could use at home to build her son’s early literacy and communication skills, along with health information and support for the rest of the family. Now Barlow beams when she talks about the gains made by her youngest son in order for him to be ready for kindergarten.

She credits the home visitation services. “You can have a conversation with him and understand what he is saying,” she said. “He even looks you in the eye when he talks to you. My only regret now is that I didn’t know about this program for his older siblings.”

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