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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.

Child care scholarship allows Prescott preschooler to soar

​​When Dove Gunderman or Prescott decided to restart her academic journey to become a speech therapist, her youngest daughter Juliette was 4 years old. The single mom of two knew that in order to be successful academically and at home, she would need to find high quality child care for Juliette.

Once she toured the Del E Webb Family Enrichment Center at Yavapai College, Gunderman knew this would be a perfect environment for her daughter to grow, learn and thrive. The preschool is enrolled in First Things First’s signature program, Quality First, which supports early care and education programs as they help prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Gunderman didn’t think she could afford to send her daughter there.

“I joked that we would have to live in a cardboard box if we had to, just so Juliette could attend,” Gunderman said.

Luckily, Gunderman qualified for First Things First Quality First Scholarship, which helps eligible families afford quality early care and education for their young children.

Juliette soon enrolled and quickly excelled. Now in first grade, Juliette continues to soar.

“She was student of the week within the first month of school,” Gunderman said.

Juliette recently started reading more challenging chapter books. It’s a love of reading that started in preschool.

“They instilled her love of stories there,” Gunderman said. “She’ll ask what words mean if she’s not familiar with them. The other day we were getting ready to leave and Juliette couldn’t put her book down. ‘I need to finish my book!’ she said. I couldn’t ask for more.”

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