‘Strong families, thriving children’- those are the words that can be found on the cover of Champions for Children’s (CFC) brochure. This nonprofit organization that mainly serves the Hillsborough County area has certainly fulfilled its mission with family education and child abuse prevention programs since its beginning in 1977.
With its multitude of programs and services accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Children and Family Service Organizations (COA) since 2004, Champions for Children prides itself in being the leading agency in Hillsborough County focused specifically on child abuse and neglect prevention, according to Jonathan Goodman, Development Director for CFC.
One of CFC’s most noteworthy programs is Kids on the Block (KOTB), an educational puppet show presented in Hillsborough County schools for grades 3 and 4.
The interactive show helps third grade students recognize different types of child abuse and use strategies to report situations to a responsible adult. The bullying and stereotyping show helps fourth grade students learn to recognize and report bullying and teaches compassion and respect for others. Every show uses life-sized puppets for kids to actively engage and ask questions. KOTB also presents a personal safety show, targeted for Pre-K aged children and their parents.
“Kids on the Block specifically focuses on reducing adverse childhood experiences,” said Ashley Lord, Program Coordinator for KOTB.
In the 2017-2018 school year, KOTB presented its shows in a total of 120 Hillsborough County Schools, including 107 public schools, 13 private schools, and 19 early childhood education locations, according to Lord. KOTB actively presents its educational shows in a number of outreach events, and locations such as the Glazer Children’s museum in downtown Tampa.
CFC, although based in downtown Tampa, offers services in most of the Tampa Bay region, including at the Brandon Family Resource Center, located at 1271 Kingsway Blvd. Residents can access free programs such as Baby Bungalow, which hosts parent-child playgroups, parent workshops, and child developmental screenings. BabyCafe, which includes ‘free professional one-on-one breastfeeding support,’ has drop-in sessions on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon.
“We provide services for anybody regardless of their circumstances in life. We have services and can meet the needs of parents in Hillsborough County who could use some extra support in raising their children,” said Goodman.
CFC is proud to receive generous support from many private donors. For more information visit https://cfctb.org or call 673-4646. CFC’s main office is located at 3018 Azeele St. in Tampa.