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April 24, 2020

Champions for Children Making the Virtual Pivot During COVID-19

By Laura Byrne

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses and organizations to find new ways to continue to serve the community and Champions for Children is no different. We sent a few questions over to the executive director Amy Haile (so we can practice safe social distancing), to learn more about how they are making the pivot and how your family can help or get help if needed.

VISIT: Champions for Children

For those unfamiliar with Champions for Children, please share with our readers what you all provide for families in Tampa Bay.

Amy Haile: Champions for Children works to prevent child abuse and neglect by providing resources, education ad support to parents and caregivers of children from birth to 18 years old.

How have you had to pivot to continue to provide services to families and what services are you able to offer via video?

Amy Haile: The COVID-19 restrictions mean that we cannot deliver all of our programs in the usual manner. However, now is not the time to pull back, so we are taking several innovative steps to ensure we can still serve families in this time of great need, including

  • Deploying staff to personally call all families to check in on them, assess their needs, and connect them to the appropriate services and resources;

  • Helping families cope with stress and social isolation by expanding individualized support via phone and video chat;

  • Virtually delivering parent education classes for adults and educational playgroups;

  • Increasing our distribution of key supplies like diapers that may be unaffordable for families at this time;

  • Supporting positive parent-child interactions by moving up the launch of our new Talk Read Sing Tampa Bay website;

How can families take advantage of the services right now?

New participants may call the main phone line at (813) 673-4646 ext 0 (operator). Someone is monitoring the line and can send them in the right direction! You can also visit the website or Facebook page.

How can families help support you all?

During this time of stress and uncertainty, families need the kind of support Champions provides. With the cancellation of the Champions Luncheon on April 29th, we still need to raise $150,000 to support our mission and to maximize our ability to keep our community’s children safe and our families strong. Here are key ways you can make a difference:

1. Make a gift of any amount at www.cfctb.org/donate.

2. Make a contribution of $500 or more – the first $25,000 will be doubled by 1:1 matching funds! www.cfctb.org/donate

If you have any questions or wish to donate another way, please contact Jonathan Goodman, our Director of Development, at jgoodman@cfctb.org

How has this pandemic changed your organization moving into the future?

This pandemic has allowed us to explore many virtual avenues and learn what works and what doesn’t work for parents. Being able to offer services to families during this time has been critical. We won’t abandon the technology we have found and will blend it in a way that we hadn’t thought of before this pandemic.

Our social media has also become a resource for parents to find tips and daily activities to do with their children. We will continue to provide this as a tool for parents.

Is there anything else you want to add?

Champions for Children recognizes that with the increasingly restrictive measures being taken to prevent COVID-19 come heightened stress and risk factors for the families we serve. Social isolation, limited access to resources, financial strain, and other types of domestic stress – even in the short-term – can have long-lasting impacts on children and families.

Throughout this crisis, we are here to help families stay strong and healthy to avoid negative outcomes.

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