CCC&Y Spotlight — Executive director Virginia Watahomigie serves as vital link to support members, partners and community to benefit local children and families

Jun 4, 2024 | CCC&Y Info & Events

Editor’s note: Part of a continuing series of profiles of board members and staff of the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth.

By the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth

We ignite collective action that creates better lives for children and families.”

That is the Mission Statement of the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth. And with a county as large as Coconino (second largest in the nation); with an individual, non-profit and for-profit membership approaching 100; and a diverse, dedicated and talented board of directors — it takes a special individual to bring all these moving parts together to benefit families throughout Northern Arizona.

Virginia Watahomigie joined CCC&Y as executive director in September 2016. In a CCC&Y news posting at the time, she said: “The opportunity to work with CCC&Y is rewarding and very exciting as the work and reputation of the Coalition is impeccable. I have found the members to be genuinely dedicated to children’s issues. I feel privileged to further this mission, as well as, continue building relationships with the community.”

Virginia has worked in the child welfare, behavioral health, and prevention fields for two decades with expertise in trauma-informed and resiliency building systems, crisis de-escalation, leadership strategies, human stress, regulation, and behavior management.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology (minor in Family Studies) and a Master’s degree in Administration (Leadership Emphasis) from Northern Arizona University.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Virginia since she took over as executive director in 2016,” said Jennifer Hernandez, project manager with the Center for the Future of Arizona; past vice-president and current member of CCC&Y’s board of directors. “Virginia leads with compassion and an extensive knowledge of mental health and youth well-being. She has greatly expanded the coalition’s footprint and deepened the work in the community.”

Since 2023, Virginia has been leading the organization’s Vitalist Health Foundation’s System Change Grant, working with City of Flagstaff and Coconino County partners with the Self-Healing Community System and Policy Change in Coconino County initiative. Click here to listen to the Vitalyst Spark Podcast about the grant.

In 2022, Virginia was selected as a 2022 Women Achievers of Arizona honoree in the nonprofit category by Arizona Capitol Times. The award honors women who excel in their professions and work every day to advance their company, firm or community, and in doing so, make a difference in the lives of Arizonans.

In 2021 she was presented with the Marcia Stanton Award by the Arizona ACEs Consortium at the 8th annual statewide ACEs summit.

Virginia providing information at the 2017 Back-to-School Health Fair in Flagstaff. Photos by Frank X. Moraga ©2024.

“This year, the award goes to an individual in the high country.” stated Angie Burleson, executive director of the consortium. “This individual has spearheaded her organization to refine its vision to one where every person lives in peace and is supported by a thriving and resilient community. To do this, she has led her organization to practice and spread the awareness of a critically important, but yet not often practiced, concept of self-care, holding mindfulness opportunities for staff and community members.”

Working with board members and other volunteers, she led the highly successful CCC&Y 50th anniversary celebration held on Oct. 27, 2002. The gala event included representatives from more than 20 organizations and more than 200 guests.

Virginia began her career in Southern Arizona working in a children’s residential treatment program and ultimately was the program director for the agency’s foster care, therapeutic foster care and ICPC (interstate compact) programs across five counties.

She additionally holds certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and more recently, completed an intense training program through the School of Intention to be certified as a Feng Shui practitioner.  Virginia loves to travel, road trips in particular, is an avid reader, and is the founder of Life-Envisioned LLC

Virginia’s favorite and most important role is being a mother.  Her daughter graduated with dual undergraduate degrees from Cornell University and Master’s Degrees from UA and ASU and now works for a national nonprofit organization.

Virginia, center in red gown, celebrates with a group photo with board members during CCC&Y’s 50th anniversary celebration on Oct. 27, 2022.


Virginia with Keynote Speaker Dr. Pearl Yellowman at the 2019 Child Abuse Prevention Conference in Flagstaff.


Virginia speaks at the 2019 Kevin Campbell ‘Self-Healing Communities’ event in Flagstaff.


Virginia with Keynote Speaker Billy Mills at the 2018 Child Abuse Prevention Conference in Flagstaff.


Virginia at the 2017 “Changing How We Think About (and Respond to) Trauma, Connections and Families w: Kevin Campbell” event in Flagstaff.


City of Flagstaff officials join Virginia at the 2017 CCC&Y Early Childhood Fair in Flagstaff.


2019 CCC&Y Early Childhood Fair in Flagstaff.