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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.


Quality preschool helps third grader reach top of the class

  • Phoenix South

When their daughter Natalia was just 18-months-old, long before preschool, Phoenix resident Maria de Jesus Cervantes and her husband began searching for a…


Yuma mom helps build her daughter’s vocabulary by reading to her from day one

  • parenting education

When Amy Crawford gave birth to her baby girl, she felt an overwhelming anxiety.​​​​​“We felt lost and scared and did not know what to do,”…

Mark Becker

Mark Becker is Yuma’s 2018 Champion for Young Children

  • champion

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

  • Southwest Maricopa

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…

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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…

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