Jethzabel Leon of Nogales has been recognized as the 2020 First Things First Santa Cruz Region Champion for Young Children.

The award is given to people who volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health.

Leon, the owner/director of Kids House Montessori Daycare and Preschool, has volunteered with First Things First to raise community awareness and will be officially recognized at an FTF Santa Cruz Regional Council meeting, the organization said in a news release.

“I think that it is very important that all of us as a community partake in early childhood education because that way, we all contribute to a child’s learning,” Leon said. “If they are prepared for kindergarten, it is much easier for children to acquire new knowledge and become independent learners. Those independent learners will then become the leaders of our community.”

Leon and her students make yearly holiday visits to post office workers, senior citizen centers and Santa Cruz Training Program residents to sing holiday songs and deliver cookies.

FTF noted that Leon has also received special recognition from the City of Nogales for her “noble acts of kindness, time and dedication” and for her “outstanding commitment to make our community a better place.”

First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten.

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