RIO RICO, Ariz. -- Rep. Rosanna Gabaldón, D-Sahaurita (District 2), will visit the Rio Rico Family Resource Center on Wednesday, Oct. 9. at 8:30 a.m. to tour and learn more about the free parenting and development classes they have to offer families with children ages five and under in Santa Cruz County.
“I am so pleased to have an opportunity to learn more about the programs and resources available to our youth and our community through this center and all the Family Resource Centers in our county,” Gabaldón said. “Supporting education is one of the most important ways we can protect our ability to participate in an increasingly global economy.”
Gabaldón is dedicated to early childhood education and has served on the Regional Partnership Council of First Things First, the agency that funds the Family Resource Center Program. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Santa Cruz County is funded to coordinate the Family Resource Center Program which operates centers in Nogales, Rio Rico and Patagonia through subcontracts with the Nogales Unified School District 1, Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District 35 and Patagonia Elementary School District 6. Founded in 2010, the Family Resource Center Program has helped more than 1,300 families in Santa Cruz County improve parenting skills and get ready for school.
“Children who start kindergarten behind have trouble catching up. The Family Resource Centers contribute to the efforts of many agencies in Santa Cruz County to ensure that all children in the county enter school ready,” said Debbie Curley, program director.
The superintendent of Santa Cruz County schools encourages families to participate in the centers to prepare their children for kindergarten. Elizabeth Santa Cruz is a mother of two girls, ages two and five. She shares her experience at one of the centers.
"Both of my girls learned to be more independent from attending classes at the FRC. I learned to change my parenting style based on each child's temperament. I learned that every child is different and learns differently, which taught me to be more accepting. When my oldest daughter entered kindergarten I was more relaxed knowing she was prepared and had the skills she needed,” Santa Cruz said.
Gabaldón plans to visit the center’s Partners in Parenting Education class which helps mothers improve the emotional bond with their one-year-old children. The ten-week class is being evaluated by the University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Parents who graduate from this class reportedly are less stressed and engage in more activities to promote their child’s learning. In addition, children who complete the class are also more likely to meet their developmental milestones on time.
“Investing in early childhood education has so many benefits both to the community and to the economy. We must make education a priority and invest in the academic success of our youth,” Gabaldón said.
For more information on the Family Resource Center Program, please contact Program Director Debbie Curley at (520) 281-2994 ext. 104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.