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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.

Wendy Watson is Yavapai’s 2017 Champion for Young Children

Wendy Watson has been selected as the 2017 Yavapai Regional First Things First 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. Champions spend a significant amount of time volunteering with FTF and building public awareness about the importance of early childhood issues.

Watson engaged in awareness-raising efforts such as:

  • Expanding public awareness of the importance of investing in the health and education of young children in a variety of educational settings throughout the county, such as college courses instructed at Prescott and Yavapai colleges, in professional development trainings and during parent workshops.
  • Helping establish the Early Childhood Learning Collaborate (ECLC) in Yavapai County. The mission of this group is to forge partnerships between early childhood and kindergarten teachers and to enhance awareness and dialog about how to best support children’s successful transition into kindergarten.
  • Assisting in implementing the Child Development Associate credential fast-track program at Yavapai College.

We recently caught up with Watson, who currently works as an early childhood consultant and a Family Resource Specialist for Chino Valley Unified School District.

Question: Why do you feel early childhood development and health is so important?

Answer:  Children’s basic health and development needs must be met before they can effectively learn and be ready for school when they begin kindergarten.

Q: What caused you to get involved in efforts to increase public awareness in early childhood issues?

A:  All community members need to be aware of children’s needs. I feel that if we all would consider what children need first when making decisions on their behalf, all of our children would succeed.

Q: Why do you feel building awareness in early childhood and developmental health is so important for families and communities?

A: All community members need to be aware of children’s needs. I feel that if we all would consider what children need first when making decisions on their behalf, all of our children would succeed.

Q: How have you seen awareness for the early years change in your community?

A:  First Things First has brought awareness of early childhood to the forefront in our region. Many more people are aware of children’s needs and many more are involved in improving services and programs than ever before.

Q: How do you suggest other people in your community get involved?

A:  If you can volunteer in an early childhood classroom, you can simply be a loving presence; this can have a huge influence for change. Also, if you consider, “This day is the child’s day. How can I see the day and her experiences—as hers? I am simply a character in her world.

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