Community Initiatives & Advocacy
Community Initiatives & Advocacy
In 2017, Champions for Children committed to including Advocacy as a key function and responsibility of the organization in order to promote and define its role as the leader in child abuse and neglect prevention and family strengthening in Tampa Bay. The Board of Directors included Advocacy, defined as the active engagement with partners and stakeholders in a mutually valuable process designed to bring improvements to the lives of Tampa Bay’s children and families, in their multi-year strategic plan. The effort to define and initiate the agency’s role as Community Advocates in Tampa Bay is aligned with the Council on Accreditation’s eight standards for Community Change Initiatives Principles.Read More...
Through initiatives and partnerships aimed to meet community needs for children and families, Champions for Children is committed to:
- • Identifying opportunities in the community that can improve the lives and futures of children and families.
- • Working with partner organizations to find solutions.
- • Mobilizing the community for action.
- • Strengthening capacity for community members and partner organizations to effect and sustain change.
- • Facilitating conversations for future progress as a principle function of the organization and its activities.
Currently, there are five major projects in the Community Initiatives and Advocacy Plan: Talk Read Sing, Champions Diaper Program, the Holiday Store, White Papers, and promotion of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework.
Our Initiatives:Talk Read Sing: a public awareness and action campaign
Talking is Teaching – Talk Read Sing is a national campaign through Too Small to Fail of the Clinton Foundation.”
Learning begins at birth, and parents are the baby’s first and best teachers! By simply talking, holding, and interacting with their infants, parents can build brain architecture, which is vital to future learning, while also building positive attachment. A parent who is positively attached to a child is far more likely to protect that child. Strong parent-infant bonding and positive interaction build the child’s social and emotional stability and security for a lifetime.
The Talk Read Sing public awareness and action campaign is designed to bring vital information to parents that their children begin learning from the moment of birth. Parents , caregivers and the community-at-large learn easy, interactive ways to improve how children learn through basic every day actions, such as singing songs about what they are doing, reading books to them, and many other daily activities. This is child advocacy at its best.
Champions Diaper Program
Until 2017, Hillsborough County had no diaper bank. Yet, 1 in 3 families experience diaper need. Diaper need impacts the physical, mental and economic well-being of children and parents.
Diapers are expensive. Disposable diapers cost $70 to $80 per month per baby. Government safety net funding, such as WIC, does not cover diapers. Most childcare centers, even free and subsidized facilities, require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers for their children. Thus, financially struggling parents who cannot supply diapers for their children cannot go to work or school. From a child abuse prevention perspective, lack of diapers can lead to premature developmental expectations regarding toilet training. Children can get punished and/or abused for accidents that diapers would have prevented.
Champions’ Diaper Program has ongoing diaper drives in partnership with organizations, businesses, The Junior League of Tampa and other community partners. Bayshore Baptist Church has generously provided storage space. Currently, Champions is seeking affiliations with both the National Diaper Bank Network and Baby2Baby. Diaper drives are held throughout the year with a major collection effort in September during National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
Champions’ white papers are designed to communicate our beliefs on specific matters, both within the organization and publicly. These papers are created through research and collaboration with staff members and community partners representing the content area highlighted. Our first white paper, on “Why Breastfeeding Matters” was published in 2018 and is available on this website.
Strengthening Families: A Protective Factors Framework
The Center for the Study of Social Policy has created and promoted a research-based approach to help develop family strengths. Their research has shown that when these protective factors are well established, the likelihood of child abuse and neglect is greatly reduced. Each of the five protective factors builds on the others to help create a stable and supportive life for the child from birth. These protective factors are:
- •Parental resilience
- • Social connections
- • Knowledge of parenting and child development
- • Concrete support in times of need
- • Social emotional competence of children.
Champions adopted this framework in April 2017 as a way to organize its discrete services and programs into a larger conceptual framework.
Guided by our philosophy and values, Champions created the Holiday Store in 2000 to offer a dignified opportunity for client families to shop at no cost for Christmas presents that best suit their children. Major donations of toys come from across the community. Volunteers act as “personal shoppers” with parents and wrap and package the families’ gifts. Last year, over 1,000 children received gifts chosen by their parents.
You and your family, friends and co-workers can help Champions by:
- • Spreading the word that preventing child abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility.
- • Advocating for funding for children’s programs, services and parent education.
- • Facilitating a Toy Drive at work.
- • Leading a “Board Book” Drive for Talk Read Sing.
- • Hosting a Diapers Drive.
- • Volunteering to help prepare diapers or books for distribution.
- • Volunteering as a Holiday Store Elf.
Thank you for helping us advocate for children. You’re a real Champion!