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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.

Teresa Linn is the Navajo/Apache Champion

Teresa Linn has been selected as the 2022 First Things First Navajo/Apache, Champion for Young Children.

The award is given to local champions who actively volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health.

Linn distributes FTF’s early childhood information at community events, for example at a kindergarten round-up at Blue Ridge Elementary School.   She attends community events and easily speaks to parents and caregivers about the importance of early childhood.  Linn is active in her community, serving in several organizations.  She is heavily involved in her faith-based organization and shares FTF’s early childhood information with others, because of her strong belief in the importance of early childhood and wants families with young children to be aware of essential services available to them.

We recently caught up with Linn, who is retired and spends a significant amount of time doing volunteer community work.

QUESTION: why did you choose to show your support for young children and families?

ANSWER: I chose to help children and families because of my past experiences.  I was adopted at age 9 months.  I recently found out the real reason was that I did not have a C-2 vertebrae.  I literally laid on my back for nine months not being allowed to roll over, sit up, crawl or do anything.  When I asked my mother why she chose me, it was because she could do more to help me.  Within four months of adoption I was doing all activities including learning how to walk.

Now that I am retired I help where I can with my free time.  If I can help even one parent or child to live a better way of life with the resources we now have available, then I feel it is a good thing.  My parents took care of many children who were mistreated by many atrocities, but were able to help them overcome some of their fears.  I feel that First Things First is a great organization to take on teaching about caring for our young children to get them on the right track for a better life.

QUESTION: What is motivating you to support babies, toddlers and preschoolers directly or indirectly?

ANSWER: I chose to be involved with First Things First because I feel I can make a difference to help children birth to age 5.  My experience with working with social services in Tucson at a young age nurtured my love OF children.  I would help my mom and dad with three babies under the age of 3 months who were premature, born early. They would give the baby to my mother because within a week she would have them up to weight.  With the three of us, each would get up in the middle of the night for feedings and diaper changes. I would then get up and go to school, but not before I hung up a load of clothes on the line and put in a second load.  With three babies you use a lot of clothes and diapers (cloth).

This helped me as an adult when I had my own son.  It also has been a basis for me to use my knowledge to help others.  Just some common sense, but you would be surprised how many adults have issues with common sense.  This has to be taught while the children are young and continued to adulthood.  This goes with strong morals and ethics being taught at home and school.

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