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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.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Health Services Division is the 2022 FTF Pascua Yaqui Tribe Champion

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Health Services Division has been selected as the 2022 First Things First Pascua Yaqui Tribe 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.

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Health Services Division partnered with FTF in hosting community events promoting early childhood development through a variety of resources such as distributing family guides and parent kits. The division also handed out FTF-sponsored children’s books and bookmarks with brain development information during the early literacy component of the events.

We recently caught up with Reuben Howard, who serves as the Director of the Health Services Division.

QUESTION: Why did you choose to show your support for young children and families? 
ANSWER: They are the future and deserve to know what can be accomplished.

QUESTION: Your actions make early childhood a priority. What inspires you to do that work? 
ANSWER: Historically the provision of health care for Indian children was very limited or non-existent. As a result, many of these children are now adults with illnesses that could have been prevented. We want to change this cycle.

QUESTION: Why do you think it’s important for people in your field/position in the community be a champion of young children and families? 
ANSWER: Tribal leadership is very important in demonstrating to young people how making good decisions in life can be accomplished. Modeling is very important.

QUESTION: What is motivating you to support babies, toddlers and preschoolers directly or indirectly? 
ANSWER: What motivates me more is my DNA. I grew up in Old Pascua until my early 20s. We need to provide a healthy environment for our kids to grow up in again, our children are our future.

QUESTION: How do you convince people not connected to early childhood that they should be a voice for Arizona’s young children?
ANSWER: Being consistent in carrying on the message. We are in it for the long run. So much has been accomplished and much more needs to be done in letting people know what a good feeling comes from knowing you are helping people in a good way.

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