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2020 Impact Report – Tohono O’odham Nation Region

First Things First partners with families and communities to help our state’s youngest children prepare for kindergarten and beyond.

Many young children in Arizona face challenges that threaten their healthy development and learning. In the Tohono O’odham Nation Region, there are 1,180 children (under age 6) with 69% living in poverty.

Here is how FTF is working to support young children and their families in this region.

“The early years are important because the support and surroundings a child has during this time will shape them into the person they will be when they’re older— mentally and emotionally. This stage is definitely the most important part of development.” 

Deidre Ortega
The 2020 FTF Tohono O’odham Nation Regional Champion for Young Children

Tohono O’odham Nation Regional Key Impact Highlights
[Fiscal Year 2020]


29 Families received support coordination to efficiently connect them to services to meet the needs of their children.

286 Children attended preschools and child care programs participating in Quality First.

22 Children birth to age 5 received a Quality First scholarship to attend high-quality preschools and child care programs.

1 Early childhood educators received college scholarships to improve their qualifications for working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


41 Early childhood educators received support through professional development opportunities to enhance the quality of teacher-child interactions.


Deidre Ortega

Tohono O’odham Nation Family Story

Professional development program helps Tohono O’odham teacher achieve unique experiences for classroom

As Deidre Ortega prepared for her upcoming graduation from Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC), she reflected on the valuable skills she acquired while in the college’s Early Childhood Education program.

“The community of practice A’al Ha-Mascam [children and their learning] definitely gave me the confidence to use the tools I’ve gained in a professional setting like working at the Head Start on the Nation,” Ortega said. “It helped me understand how important every little part is during the first five years of a child’s life.”

Read more

FTF Tohono O’odham Nation Regional Partnership Council

SFY20 Total Regional Program Expenditures

The FTF Tohono O’odham Regional Partnership Council is made up of volunteers who study the unique needs of the local community and decide how funds should be used to best support the healthy development and early learning of young children birth to age 5. FTF invests in proven programs and innovative strategies through grants to community organizations that provide services to children and families.


Quality Child Care and Preschool $228,765 42%
Workforce Development and Training $134,245 25%
Strengthening Families $120,055 22%
Parent and Community Awareness $38,558 7%

Research and Evaluation 

$15,045 2%
Preventive Health $10,968 2%



Tohono O'odham Nation

The Tohono O’odham Nation’s lands are located within the Sonoran Desert in south central Arizona. The boundaries of the First Things First Tohono O’odham Region are the same as the Nation’s federally recognized reservation boundaries. These include the noncontiguous San Xavier (Tucson) and San Lucy (Gila Bend & Glendale) districts; Florence Village, a small community outside the City of Florence in Pinal County; and the nine contiguous districts that make up the majority of Western Pima County and small southern portions of Maricopa and Pinal counties. They include Gu Vo, Hickiwan, Sif Oidak, Gu Achi, Pisinemo, Chukut Kuk, Sells, Shuk Toak and Baboquivari districts. The FTF Tohono O’odham Nation Region includes Legislative District 4. (Legislative districts are not necessarily congruent with regional boundaries.)


Learn more at:

Download a PDF version of this report. 

Tohono O’odham Nation PDF

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