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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.

Mark Becker

Mark Becker is Yuma’s 2018 Champion for Young Children

  • championss

Mark Becker has been selected as the 2018 Yuma First Things First Champion for Young Children.The award is given to local champions who actively volunteer…


Hopi girl’s self-esteem blossoms with help from her mom

  • parenting education

When Tia was 4 years old, her mother Tracy Billy worried about her self-esteem. Billy was working full time during the day at the hospital, taking evening…


Veteran home-based early care provider finds support and encouragement to overcome child’s…

  • parenting education

After 26 years nurturing and educating young children, veteran teacher Becky Tellez never expect to face a teaching challenge she couldn’t overcome. But,…


Library literacy stations help parents see themselves as a child’s first teacher

  • parenting education

​​​“TWO! That’s my number, that’s how old I am,” said 2 year old Joaquin, as his eyes lit up when he saw the number two flash across the screen…


Readiness Basket program helps families gather to learn

  • school readiness

At the tender age of nine months, Luis moved in with his grandmother Maria Altamirano and her husband Miguel.Right away, Altamirano could see that Luis had…

First Things First Logo

Scholarship program keep kids learning, parents working

  • Quality First

​​​​​​​As a single mom of three boys, Angie struggled to afford child care while still keeping food on the table. She has let the lights go out…


Future looks and sounds brighter for preschool twins

  • developmental screenings

Hearing, vision and developmental challenges in young children can lead to learning problems later on. If detected early, however, many issues can be corrected…


Finding hope, making progress: How Angelo overcame Dysphagia

  • strong families

Three-year-old Angelo can count to twenty as he washes his hands. He loves to read books and has a lot of fun playing with his friends at school. But things…

Scholarships help young kids access early education

  • Quality First

​​​Balancing parenthood with higher education can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if young parents are far from home. Jessica moved to Tempe from…

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