What’s New at Champions

What's new at Champions

As we wrap up the first quarter of 2023, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the latest and greatest news with you about our efforts to bring our proven programs to new families and communities, and to reach them in new ways. Check out our updates below, and then keep reading to learn about exciting upcoming opportunities to connect and join our mission to prevent child abuse and neglect, right here in the Tampa Bay Area!

Baby Cafe Keeps Growing

After opening TWO new Baby Cafe breastfeeding support clinics in 2022, we kicked off 2023 by opening  another – bringing the total to six, up from just three in 2021. This expansion, made possible by a partnership with BayCare Health Systems, will launch yet another exciting new component later this year. In an effort to address a shortage of Spanish-language lactation support services in our area, we will be training new Spanish-speaking International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Once trained, two of them will join our team as the lead IBCLCs at yet another new Baby Cafe centered in one of Hillsborough County’s heavily Spanish-speaking communities.

Kids on the Block Gets a Refresh

Eddie, Joanne, Nam, and the rest of our Kids on the Block puppets have spent more than a decade performing for over 200,000+ local elementary school students, teaching them how to stay safe from child abuse, neglect, bullying, and other unsafe situations. It’s been a great ride, but… they’re tired, and starting to literally fall apart! Last year, we were grateful to receive a grant to have new puppets made – some replicas of the old characters, and a few new ones as well to reflect the increasing diversity of the students for whom they perform. As of 2023, “Old” Eddie, Joanne, and Nam have been excited to pass the torch to “New” Eddie, Joanne, and Nam, along with other new Kids on the Block. The new gang can’t wait to perform for kids in our community.

Investing More in Dads

Next week, our Layla’s House program is hosting its first outreach event to let community dads know about our latest fatherhood initiative! This new project, launched in partnership with the Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise, will include some new programming just for dads – an “Emotion Coaching” class as well as a new class called “Fatherhood Matters” – as well as case management and connections to other local resources for things like building job skills, finding work, and many other needs. We are excited to take this next step in investing in resources that are specially designed to meet the unique needs of fathers and father-figures in our community.

Working with our Community

One of the many reasons we love serving Tampa Bay is the incredible community of partners we get to work with to support children and families. We are proud to serve as a co-founding and lead agency of three collaborative partnership groups that have hit their stride over the past year. The Town ‘n’ Country Community Collaborative brings together organizations working with families in Tampa’s Town ‘n’ Country neighborhood where our Great We Grow program is based, organizing events, sharing referrals, and more. The Teen Parent Community Collaborative is a group of partners who all serve or have an interest in serving pregnant and parenting teenagers in our community, and are looking to develop more robust services for this vulnerable group. PACEs Hillsborough focuses on educating our community about the impact of Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs) on local children and families. This April, we will help present a conference titled “Using the Science of Childhood Experiences to Reduce the Impacts of Trauma and Adversity,” which we are excited (and sorry) to announce is already SOLD OUT!

New Co-Chairs and a New Vision for our Community Council

We are thrilled welcome three new co-chairs to lead our Community Council – Carrie Miller (Florida Blue), Marisa Stoker (Care Team Home Care), and Katelyn Danchak (PNC Bank)! And of course we are so grateful to Starlett Massey (Massey Law) and Shelby Russ (Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts), the very first co-chairs of this group, who have brought their passion to our mission and this group from day one. Additionally, the Community Council has a new focus: each quarter, the group will be identifying one critical need within our organization to address through an organized supply drive. First up, a toy drive to help make the visitation room at our Family Learning Center a more positive place for children to visit their parents who are in treatment for substance use disorders at Cove Behavioral Health. Scroll down to learn how to get involved.

Opportunities to Connect

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month – and you can help us “Light the Way” to a Tampa Bay without child abuse and neglect. On April 27th, we will cap off the month with an in-person celebration providing an interactive opportunity to meet our staff and learn about Champions, and honoring Chad Loar with the 2023 Cornelia Corbett Child Advocate Award. Visit cfctb.org/capmonth to see how you can attend the event, support our campaign, or help us spread the word during this critical month for raising both funds and awareness for our mission.

Champions’ Community Council is a group of individuals who are inspired by the agency’s mission to prevent child abuse and neglect in Hillsborough County. These individuals are dedicated to being ambassadors of the agency and advocating on behalf of this mission. If that inspires you, save the date for our next meeting on Monday, May 1st at our main offices (3108 W. Azeele St, Tampa). This will be an opportunity for members of the Community Council and newcomers to connect and plan the group’s next project while enjoying wine and snacks! RSVP by emailing community@cfctb.org.

Cheers for Champions is a happy hour event where folks gather to network with our fellow supporters, get to know the staff who make our work possible, and learn more about how you can help support Tampa Bay children and families. Stay tuned for the date and location of our next Cheers for Champions event! Interested in being the exclusive sponsor for an upcoming “Cheers”? Contact Angela Green at agreen@cfctb.org.

To stay up-to-date on Champions programming, events, and other ways to support, sign up for our email list by visiting cfctb.org/mailing-list.