Maria Avila has been selected as the 2021 First Things First Pima North 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.
Avila is a family navigator for the Pima County Juvenile Court. She invited FTF to attend the department’s monthly Building Blocks meetings, which emphasize birth to age 3 and early childhood education. Through these meetings, Avila shared early childhood information with 11 Pima region partners.
Avila also works with other regional FTF Champions to share early childhood information in an adapted Arizona Parent Resource bag with foster care families with children birth to age 5 through the juvenile courts.
We recently caught up with Avila.
Question: Why do you feel early childhood development and health are important?
Answer: Early childhood development and health are important because they provide a solid foundation for children’s lives. By providing children knowledge and tools we as a community can help prepare them for a more successful future.
Question: How do you suggest other people in your community get involved?
Answer: There are many ways for people in our community to get involved. If you are interested in supporting children involved in foster care you can apply to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate, which is a trained volunteer that advocates for the best interest of children. Another way to get involved is simply sharing resources and information you have with your friends and neighbors, passing on the knowledge you have to enhance the lives of those around you.