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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 30, 2002 - Issue 75


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Mesa Couple Named National Parents of the Year

art: Children of Walpi by Paul Calle
Children of Walpi by Paul CalleMesa, Arizona - In a quiet ceremony at Mesa City Hall , Ezekiel and Pauline Sanchez were honored by Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker and Arizona State Representative Mark Anderson as National Parents of the Year - receiving the Excellence in Parenting 2002 National Award. In 2001, Ezekiel and Pauline Sanchez were nominated as the first Native American recipients of the Arizona Parents of the Year Award.

Ezekiel Sanchez is a co-founder of Anasazi Foundation, a non-profit organization serving at-risk youth and their parents. Pauline is an active member of the Foundation’s board. “They have raised seven wonderful children of their own and have helped thousands of others through their work at Anasazi,” says State Representative Sylvia Laughter. “Their lives are an inspiration to us all.”

Ezekiel is a Totonac Indian from Mexico, said Laughter. As a youth, he worked in the migrant fields. He started high school when he was 19 and earned an art scholarship to Brigham Young University. Pauline, a Navajo from The Gap, Arizona attended public school in Utah as part of a placement program. Ezekiel and Pauline met while participating in a college performing arts group. They started their family while teaching on the Navajo reservation. Laughter says that ever since the children were little, they have been involved in the development of ANASAZI. The children are often seen performing native dances and songs at fund raising events.

Anasazi Foundation was founded in 1988 and is best known for its nationally accredited(1) outdoor program for youth with substance abuse and emotional and behavioral concerns. The 42-day program has served over 2,300 youth and has historically produced remarkable results.(2)

The foundation has attracted the attention and support of personalities such as former First Lady Barbara Bush, Best Selling Author Stephen R. Covey, and NFL Superstar Steve Young. With their help, ANASAZI has raised more than $2 million in financial aid for parents with little or no resources to find help for an at-risk son or daughter.

The Award was presented by the National Parents’ Day Council, A Project of the American Family Coalition and The Washington Times Foundation. The Council is a Nationwide Network of racially and religiously diverse leaders focused on the promotion of Parent’s Day activities. In 1994, the U.S. Congress unanimously adopted the law establishing the fourth Sunday of every July as National Parents’ Day.

(1) Anasazi Foundation is license by the Arizona Department of Health Service, Office of Behavioral Health (Craig Blazer 602 674-4300), Department of Economic Security (Donna Lee Phillips 602 485-1308) and nationally accredited through Council on Accreditation (C.O.A.).
(2) University of Idaho (Keith Russell 208 885-2269) and Brigham Young University (Mark Widmer 801 378-3381).

Mike Merchant,
Chief Executive Officer
ANASAZI Foundation
Office (480) 892-7403
Cell (602) 763-7993

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