Saint Johns June 10, 2015 – First Things First recognizes Donna Harris as a 2015 First Things First Champion for Young Children. Th e 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. Harris, who lives in Heber-Overgaard, has volunteered with First Th ings First to leverage her relationships with the Ponderosa Lion’s Club and Lion’s Club International to inform the community of the importance of Early Childhood Development and the role that First Things First plays in supporting the success of Arizona’s Children on numerous occasions including inviting FTF staff and grantees to present to Lions and Mountain Meadow school staff . “Positive health habits and a love of reading formed early in childhood stay with a child throughout their lifetime strengthening their self-confi dence,” Harris said when asked why she feels Early Childhood development and health is so important. “Critical skills, like motivation, self-discipline, focus and self-esteem, begin to take root from birth to 5 years old. Successful people share these traits and we must give children the tools to develop these essential skills.” Harris grew up in Chicago and moved to San FranDonna Harris of Overgaard, AZ was recognized as a First Things First Champion for Young Children for 2015.
cisco in the late 60’s. She wound up back in Chicago working for the airlines and experienced success as an entrepreneur while working for the airlines. In the mid 80’s she transferred to Sky Harbor International Airport and continued working for the airlines while opening a bridal shop in the old fifth avenue shops in Scottsdale. Aft er the airline declared bankruptcy, she was employed by a major property and casualty insurance company where she retired aft er twenty years and relocated to the White Mountains. “Retirement has been exciting!” Harris said, “I joined the Lions Club in my community and continued a career in service only now it was as a volunteer. Loving the energy and awe for life that only children exhibit, I partnered with fellow Lion members to create the Children’s Dental Health Awareness program instructing young children at their level the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth.” The program has now expanded to over five counties due to the recognition of Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation by awarding our program with three generous grants. FTF Champions engage in awareness-raising efforts such as: • Helping host an information table at a community event. • Attending training on early childhood messaging. • Writing letters to the editors that show support for early childhood issues. • Sharing their own early childhood success story. For more information about Harris and your local regional partnership council please visit:
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About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit azftf.gov.