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Meet Sofia and the Howell Family

Watch Sofia's Story  Seven years into their marriage and raising their three young children, Richard and Emily Howell were asked by the Department of Child Safety to temporarily foster her sister’s three children while her sister was in rehab for substance abuse. Unfortunately her sister did not complete rehabilitation, and the children stayed with the Howells. Two years ago Emily got another call informing her that her sister had given birth to a little girl who was born premature and substance exposed, and DCS asked them to foster the baby girl as well. The Howells decided they would foster the little girl, named...

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Head Start staff travel to Washington, D.C. for leadership conference

Last week, a group of Southwest Human Development Head Start and Early Head Start staff and parents traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss and learn more about the importance of early childhood education and the impact our programs and services have on Arizona’s children and their families. Nina Williams, assistant director of Head Start and Early Head Start at Southwest Human Development recounts her experiences in Washington:  It was an honor to travel to Washington, D.C. last week with other members of the Southwest Human Development’s Head Start and Early Head Start staff and the parents of children in our program...

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Annual ‘Walk With Me’ family fun event to benefit children with disabilities

On Saturday, Feb. 20, Southwest Human Development will host the eighth annual Walk With Me family fun walk presented by the Arizona Coyotes Foundation and HumanaVitality 5K run at Scottsdale Civic Center Park to benefit the nonprofit’s Easter Seals services for young children with disabilities. The event will feature a one-mile family fun walk and 5K run, kid’s activities, music, food, a community resource fair, after party at The Saguaro, and more! Event check-in begins at 7 a.m., the run starts at 8 a.m., and the walk kicks off at 9:30 a.m. “Each year, 1,500 people join Walk With Me to help...

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Join Silas, one of our ambassadors, at Walk With Me!

Watch Silas' Story! Silas was born with arthrogryposis, a condition in which some joints don’t move as they should and may be stuck in one position, restricting range of motion. Often muscles around these joints are thin, weak, stiff or missing. This disability substantially limits Silas’ ability to actively explore his world in the way that most toddlers are able to do. Silas rolls on the floor to move from one place to another and he cannot physically sit up on his own or bend his elbows. In February 2015, Silas and his mother, Jen, came to Southwest Human Development’s ADAPT Shop...

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Meet Santino, one of our 2016 Walk With Me ambassadors

Watch Santino's Story Shortly after the birth of their son Santino, Bobby and Amanda received the news that their newborn had a very rare brain abnormality called bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria. The disease caused Santino to have low muscle tone and weakness in his arms and legs which prevented him from sitting and standing on his own. Bobby and Amanda struggled to find a chair that provided the proper support for their son. After several physical therapy appointments, someone suggested the family contact Southwest Human Development about a Happy Chair. The chair, specially designed at the ADAPT Shop, helps young children build upper...

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Local woodworkers to build 100 ‘Little Free Libraries’

Much like the good old fashioned sentiment of borrowing a cup of sugar from the family next door, a Little Free Library™ is a decorative, custom-made wooden box that's installed where neighbors or community members share used books with one another. The presence of a Little Free Library™ often establishes a sense of community and promotes literacy. While area residents will find about 30 Little Free Libraries™ around the metropolitan Phoenix area, local retailer Woodworkers Source is teaming up with early childhood nonprofit Southwest Human Development in a campaign to add 100 more by March 5. So who’s going to...

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Get up to a $400 Arizona charitable tax credit

Did you know that by donating to Southwest Human Development you’re eligible to receive a dollar-for-dollar Arizona tax credit? The State of Arizona offers an income tax credit to people who support qualifying charitable organizations. Formerly known as the Working Poor Tax Credit, this allows donors like you to receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for making a financial contribution to Southwest Human Development. This tax credit is in addition to any public or private school tax credits you may be claiming. With recent changes to Arizona law, it is no longer necessary to itemize your state income taxes in order to...

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Meet Dylan, one of our 2016 Walk With Me ambassadors

Dylan was born a happy and healthy baby boy, but shortly after his birth, he began having difficulty feeding. After a few days, his parents took Dylan to the hospital where he was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis – a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract – and he needed surgery to correct it. During the initial incision, Dylan’s heart stopped for nearly 45 minutes leaving him with brain damage, cerebral palsy, difficulty managing seizures and cortical blindness. “When you have children and they’re born, you have all these hopes and dreams,” said Lauren, Dylan’s mom. “He was 22 days old when a...

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Now accepting children’s book manuscripts

Have you ever dreamed of writing a children’s book? Imagine your very own children’s story in the hands of thousands of children! We’re going to publish a children’s book and we’re looking for your help to find the next great manuscript! Today, Southwest Human Development launched the First Edition Children’s Book Writing Contest, the cornerstone of the recently announced Books for Babies … and Toddlers, Too! initiative to support our early literacy programs. Manuscripts must be submitted by September 15, 2015. The winning book of 600 words or less will be professionally illustrated, published, distributed, and sold online and in stores using the...

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We’re launching Books for Babies … and Toddlers, Too!

There are 500,000 children in Arizona under age 5 and roughly 200,000 of them will enter kindergarten unprepared to succeed in school. Early literacy skills, such as exploring and playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, and listening to stories, are the building blocks for kindergarten success. Our early literacy initiatives support parents in their child’s development by providing the tools and resources they need to ensure positive and healthy early learning experiences for their young children. Although these programs are about far more than just putting books in the hands of children, having access to books is one of the first steps of...