Retired teachers dedicate years to volunteering in community

Myrna Chilese and Kathy Cory are retired school teachers with hearts of gold, and a passion for helping children succeed that far surpasses classroom walls. As Myrna and Kathy embarked on a post-retirement journey of volunteerism, they fatefully found Southwest Human Development and have since been loyal volunteers. The “best friends” began their adventures together when the pair met while teaching kindergarten in the same school. Through collaboration on best teaching practices, the pair quickly flourished into an inseparable duo who share a mission for making a difference in the lives of children in need. Upon meeting 20 years ago, Myrna and Kathy...

Vanguard donates $360,000 to help fund Healthy Families and Reach Out and Read

Southwest Human Development has received significant new backing for two of its critical early childhood programs for Arizona children and their families. The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program™ has awarded Southwest Human Development a $210,000 grant to ensure that at-risk families with newborns or those who are expecting and face the greatest challenges receive the support they need to get their children off to a great start in life through the nonprofit’s Healthy Families program. The program has also awarded Southwest Human Development $150,000 to support its Reach Out and Read program, which promotes early literacy in pediatric offices by using...

Beyond the candy: 5 Easter basket gifts that help your child develop

[caption id="attachment_23824" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo Credit: Susan Ackeridge[/caption] When the Easter bunny hops into town this year, help him deliver a meaningful gift to complement traditional goodies and trinkets. Easter basket items that double as tools to help your child's early development make egg-cellent gifts! 1) Books (all ages) Let the Easter bunny spruce up your child's home library! It’s no secret that early literacy is the foundation of children’s success in school, so why not use the holiday to your advantage to boost story-time excitement? Books like Up Up Up and Happy Easter, Mouse! tell the tale of animal friends and make...

Southwest Human Development to give away 5,000+ children’s books at Festival of Tales

Come experience a cultural literacy day for Arizona children and families! Southwest Human Development is partnering with Paradise Valley Community to host its Festival of Tales literacy event– a fun day of reading, literacy and cultural activities for children and families from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at Paradise Valley Community College. Since its inception, Festival of Tales has attracted more than 15,500 people from Maricopa County and more than 25,000 books have been given away to children from low-income families. “Learning and language development start with books. At Southwest Human Development, we to ensure that there are books...

You’re Invited: Early literacy expansion kickoff to be held April 18

On Tuesday, April 18, a coalition of Read On Phoenix partners will host a special kick-off event featuring Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to launch a citywide engagement effort focused on building early literacy partnerships with Valley businesses, civic clubs and others who are passionate about reading and helping young children succeed in the city of Phoenix. Open to the public, guests are invited to learn more about ways that companies and organizations can support this important work in the community where we all live, work and play. A variety of booths will showcase concrete avenues then public can take to get involved...

Part 1: What toddler biting means for parents

This article originally appeared in the April issue of Raising Arizona Kids Magazine.  By Dr. Alison Steier, Southwest Human Development’s director of mental health services Toddlers are passionate beings. They feel their emotions intensely and can show them in very dramatic ways without embarrassment. While we admire toddler’s unrestrained joy and affection, their capacity to feel and express “negative” emotions, such as sadness and anger, can be challenging. A toddler’s ability to process negative emotions are an important key to healthy development, but can manifest into unwanted behavior, like biting. Parents often worry that bitten playmates or other parents may reject their child, and that biting...

Little Free Libraries increase access to books for low-income kids

Children’s books that can benefit a child’s early learning are simply something many communities do not have. For children in low income neighborhoods, there is just one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Compare that with 13 books per child in middle-income areas, there’s certainly inequity experienced early in a child’s life when it comes to being prepared to enter school. “This is unimaginable to many whose children have dozens of picture books on the shelves of their room,” says Jake Adams, chief development officer at Southwest Human Development. “People in the community are stepping up to make sure more kids...

Southwest Human Development celebrates National Literacy Month year-round

Southwest Human Development has long placed a critical importance on the development of young children by supporting their families to help set them on a path of success in school and life. Though March is National Literacy Month, Southwest Human Development celebrates literacy in its every day work with children and families. A staple within each of Southwest Human Development’s programs—whether geared toward child development, mental health, Easterseals disabilities services or child welfare—is a core foundation that emphasizes early language and literacy development. In addition to providing more than 100,000 books to low-income families annually and educating parents about the lifelong benefits...

Walk With Me raises over $163,000 for children with disabilities

Community members and disability advocates from around the Valley gathered at Scottsdale Civic Center Park from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning to walk the extra mile to support children with disabilities. The ninth annual Walk With Me family fun walk and carnival attracted over 1,000 participants. With the help of sponsors and dedicated fundraisers, Walk With Me events raised $163,090, as donations continue to roll in. Supporters, parents, children and canine friends flooded in through registration during the crisp morning hours ready for the one-mile family fun walk and carnival. Walk With Me ambassadors and families rallied together at...

VIDEO: Delta Dental of Arizona funds oral health for families in need

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9m-ophMV1I&feature=youtu.be[/embed] Southwest Human Development hosted the second annual Healthy Families Picnic to celebrate a donation from Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation this month. February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and in the name of oral health education, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation generously donated $20,000 to Southwest Human Development to support oral health programs. Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting oral health and prevent dental disease in children and youth through age 18, with a particular emphasis in underserved and uninsured communities. Thanks to its support, children and pregnant mothers in need who may not have...