At Champions, we’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to better serve our community. From a grassroots campaign to reach parents of small children to a diaper bank for our clients in need, learn about the new initiatives we’ve kickstarted in the last few months–and how you can get involved.
Our first major initiative came about as a natural result of our Community Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect in April. At the conclusion of the event, we invited any and all attendees who were interested to join us for a follow-up “Next Steps” meeting to determine what we as a community could do to better foster positive child development for all, to which many attendees responded with enthusiasm. Furthermore, a post-event survey reveal that most participants felt more needed to be done to make sure the very youngest children in our community are safe and thriving.
Our Next Steps meeting, which took place in May at the Junior League of Tampa, included individuals from other social service agencies, representatives of the school system, and concerned members of the community, alongside Champions staff and leadership. At this and following meetings, this dedicated group decided to work together to implement a local Talking is Teaching initiative in Hillsborough County. This national campaign, an initiative of Too Small to Fail, focuses on advocating for public awareness of early brain and vocabulary development.
Over the course of the coming year, Champions will lead the group in planning a campaign to encourage all parents to talk, sing and read to their young children as much as possible, helping to lay the groundwork for healthy brain development at the most critical stages. The campaign will combine traditional advertising, social media advocacy and networking with key community resources and healthcare providers to reach as many parents as possible throughout the county.
Our second major new initiative came about as a result of a collaboration between Liz Kennedy, our Community Liaison, and Hannah Buck, a former Family Educator with our P3 program, who realized that Hillsborough County has no standing diaper bank to serve those in need. To begin addressing this, we piloted a Diaper Program serving our client families, with the intent to eventually expand into a diaper bank for the community at-large.
Our Diaper Program formally began in September with a diaper drive in conjunction with Diaper Need Awareness Week. The drive included participation from local businesses alongside Champions for Children’s main locations. With the sudden impact of Hurricane Irma locally and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the diaper drive took on an added sense of urgency, resulting in the drive being extended throughout the month of October. We’ve so for managed to collect more than 1,000 diapers since the initiative’s start.
To help raise awareness of diaper need in our area, volunteers assembled a portion of the collected diapers into “diaper cake” centerpieces for our 2017 Champions Luncheon. Afterwards, the centerpieces were disassembled and added back to the stock.
While our diaper drive has concluded, we’re still collecting diapers at our main Azeele Street location, and we plan to ramp up and expand the program in 2018.
If you’re interested in getting involved with either of these initiatives, contact Liz Kennedy, Community Liaison, at email@example.com.