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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.

Jeanie Pefferly is the 2019 Southeast Maricopa Region Champion

Champion volunteer for Southeast Maricopa

Jeanie Pefferly has been selected as the 2019 First Things First Southeast Maricopa Region 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.

Pefferly invited FTF to facilitate a training with pediatric providers who interact with families daily so that the medical team could learn how to use their voice to raise awareness on the importance of early childhood. The providers now consistently share FTF materials paired with early childhood messages with parents/caregivers.

Pefferly also works with local school districts and other community partners to bring resources and early childhood information to families of young children to help build nurturing and stable environments for children and prepare them for kindergarten. She continuously looks for new collaborations and has created an excellent network of community partners that provide resources and information that can strengthen the parenting skills of families of young children because she knows that learning begins at birth.

Pefferly also created resource areas within pediatric offices so that parents and caregivers have ready access to materials that provide early childhood information, tools and tips.

We recently caught up with Pefferly, who is a pediatric care coordinator with Healing Hearts Pediatrics.

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

Answer: Research has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that when importance is placed upon early childhood development and health, the groundwork is laid for more success in school, social relationships, physical health and mental/behavioral health. The better we track and support children’s development and health, the stronger and better off they will be down the road.

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

Answer: Many organizations are working to support early child development and health, and we can all contribute our time, our talents and/or financially to be involved in young children’s lives. Whether it is volunteering at an oral health fair or a 5k fundraising run, reading to kids at the library, organizing a playgroup for foster care, or being a member of an advisory board of a community organization, we all have something to offer. Our efforts all matter and work synergistically to benefit children everywhere!

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