Southwest Human Development celebrates 35 years

All young children deserve a great start in life. Knowing the early years matter the most, for 35 years the people at Southwest Human Development have devoted themselves to helping Arizona’s youngest children and their families.

Founded in 1981 with six staff members serving 175 children through a single program, Phoenix-based Southwest Human Development is now the state’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood development.

This month marks its 35th year of helping Arizona families.

PrintWorking to help Arizona’s children during their earliest years, the 850 members of Southwest Human Development team provide 40 early childhood programs and services to 135,000 children and their families annually.

“For 35 years, our staff have worked in partnership with Arizona families, responding with support and expertise that reflects the best interests of children and their families,” said Ginger Ward, CEO of Southwest Human Development.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says Southwest Human Development has an impressive range of services that have benefited children and families, but the secret to its success is the steady hand of its caring staff.

“The people in this organization contribute the blood, sweat and tears needed to directly help families from sometimes intractable problems and challenges, and they do it with grace and humility,” Stanton said. “Southwest Human Development makes Phoenix proud and it has made our community stronger since its inception in 1981.”

Southwest Human Development focuses on five critical areas: child development and mental health, Easter Seals disabilities services, early literacy and Head Start, child welfare, and professional development and training for those who work with young children.

A known leader in providing comprehensive and innovative programs and services for children and families, Southwest Human Development uses the latest science and evidence-based research and best practices to improve the cognitive, social and emotional development of young children, which in turn helps them enter school ready to learn and succeed later in life.

Some of Southwest Human Development’s programs and services include the ADAPT Shop, a dedicated workshop that designs and builds custom equipment and supports for children with disabilities; the Birth to Five Helpline, a free service for families, caregivers and professional with questions about children ages birth to 5; the Children’s Developmental Center, which provides comprehensive evaluations, assessments and individualized plans for children with disabilities; and the Good Fit Counseling Center, Arizona’s only mental health clinic dedicated to children under the age of 5.