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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.


Parents as Teachers helps Gilbert couple teach fragile son

  • school readiness

For Scott and Pat Hall of Gilbert, their adopted son Ethan was a miracle. Born seven weeks early and weighing only 4 pounds, the medical crises with the baby…


New directions parenting class helps resolve sibling strife

  • parenting education

Maanasi was having a hard time playing sibling referee for her two children, ages 9 and 3. They would fight over toys, books and even where the other was…

Supporting grandparents in their role as second-time-around caregivers

  • Coconino

​​​​​​​ “Nana, Nana!” Kate and Alexa run in to Cindy’s Fredonia home every morning excited to have breakfast and play with their grandma.…

Growing up great in Page

  • parenting education

​​​​​​​Foster mother Sandra Guzman* is rediscovering what it is like to raise an infant, now that her family is fostering baby Isaac*.With a 14-…

Getting ready for kindergarten

  • school readiness

In a classroom at Fredonia Elementary School, young children sitting at a computer playing a phonics game; some are shaping objects out of play dough; at…


Tucson dad learns how to help son be ready for kindergarten

  • home visitation

Miguel Cortez of Tucson has three sons, twins who are in sixth grade, and Christopher, who started kindergarten this fall. Although all of his children…


Dads play important role in social-emotional development of children

  • parenting education

Samara hesitated at first, but with the encouragement of her dad, the toddler soon began clapping her hands and swaying to the music. She was among dozens of…

A safe haven for children in need

  • Phoenix South

​​​​​​Walking into a haven like UMOM Hobbs Child Development Center immediately fills you with a sense of comfort and safety. The quiet as tiny…

Quality learning in preschool and at home boosts Grand Canyon kindergartener’s success

  • school readiness

When her son Demitrius was 3 years old, Kate Maragos felt guilty. As a mom of three, a Sunday school teacher, a volunteer and a long-term placement foster mom,…

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