In a small, modest medical office, three stories above South Phoenix, Dr. Duane Wooten sits behind a large wooden desk, scattered with paperwork and prescription receipts. He has run a successful pediatric medical practice in the Phoenix area for over 31 years. “I’ve helped a lot of people – nearly 35,000 kids – since I started as a practitioner.”
A native to Phoenix, Duane’s roots in the community go deep. “I was born and raised in downtown Phoenix,” he explains. “I grew up at the Matthew Henson Housing Projects just down the street – not many people that do what I do can say that. But I can, because Phoenix Day is a part of my roots.”
Things were not easy for Duane’s family when he was growing up. “My father often worked 2-3 jobs and my mother took care of six kids.” His parents were determined to make sure their children would not struggle as much as they did. They worked hard, doing everything they could to help their kids get ahead and succeed.
“My mother knew she needed someone who knew how to educate to help us get ready for school, but there were very limited resources for families needing daycare in South Phoenix. Luckily my mother heard about Phoenix Day from a friend. It was a staple of the neighborhood – anyone looking for good, quality childcare knew Phoenix Day was the place to get it.”
Duane attended Phoenix Day for two years, from 3-4 years old. He credits the comprehensive programming at Phoenix Day as being pivotal in his development. “They do so many different programs centered around all topics on life, covering fine motor development, cognitive development, emotional development, social development, everything!”
For Duane, Phoenix Day set him up for a life of success. “Because of Phoenix Day, I was able to attend public school in South Phoenix and do very well – that’s not common. I might not be where I am without it. These types of programs can make all the difference.”
When a community invests in its children through a program like Phoenix Day, it gets leaders and thinkers – people like Dr. Duane Wooten.
Since graduating from Phoenix Day nearly 40 years ago, his experiences have stuck with him. It’s the reason he makes a conscious effort to give back. Duane served on Phoenix Day’s Board of Directors for nearly ten years. “I needed to give the opportunities I got to other people too. Phoenix Day has been around for over a hundred years, and it wouldn’t still be here if the Phoenix community didn’t truly need it.”
For Duane, there is nothing more important than providing education during the early days in a child’s life. He feels lucky to have received his education from Phoenix Day. It set the foundation he needed to become a doctor and give back. “Your roots are where it starts. Your roots make you who you are, and Phoenix Day will always be a part of my roots.”