KINGMAN – Volunteers from the First Things First child care program in the La Paz-Mohave County Region were honored Aug. 29 with the Eddie Basha Award for leadership and service.
The annual award recognizes one of 28 regional councils from across Arizona for inspiring its local community to come together and promote positive and lasting change on behalf of young children.
The La Paz-Mohave region covers nearly 17,000 square miles, including Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, Parker and a portion of land belonging to the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.
“I am so proud that our region has been recognized for our efforts to ensure that child care and preschool teachers are receiving constant support in expanding their professional skills,” said Riley Frei, chairman of the region and superintendent for the Colorado River Union High School District and Bullhead City Elementary School District.
The award is named for Eddie Basha, an Arizona businessman who spent his life championing children and public education. It was presented to council volunteers at the Early Childhood Summit held Aug. 28-29 at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Frei noted the council’s efforts in creating a new collaboration between the Association for Supportive Child Care, which is the council’s professional development strategy partner, and Mohave Community College.
Through this joint collaboration, the council and MCC are now able to provide a clear pathway for early child care professionals to earn a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) credential.
Early childhood professionals in the region have responded with “eager enthusiasm,” Frei said, earning 234 CDA credits through MCC so far.
“As an educator, I know that the more educated my teachers are, the better prepared they are to engage students and support their learning,” Frei said. “Early childhood educators are the ones who are engaging children at the most rapid and crucial time of their brain development.”