Darcy Dixon of Rio Rico has been recognized by First Things First as a 2019 Champion for Young Children.

The distinction comes as a result of her volunteer work with FTF to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education in the community. She was recognized at the June FTF Santa Cruz Regional Council meeting, the organization said in a news release.

“The focus on the early years for children’s health and learning is the most cost effective path that our society can take, as a child is the most malleable in the first five years of life,” Dixon was quoted as saying. “The things young children are taught will lay a strong foundation for the rest of their lives. Also, any learning or health issues can be improved or resolved if caught in the early stages of a child’s life, avoiding costly interventions at older ages.”

Dixon recently retired after more than 35 years with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, working in family, consumer and health sciences. She obtained and oversaw a number of FTF grants in Santa Cruz County, including the Child Care Health Consultation program, which provides technical assistance and professional development to child care providers.

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