TALK READ SING Tampa Bay is a community awareness campaign led by Champions for Children that educates Tampa Bay residents, especially parents, about the importance of talking, reading and singing beginning at birth to build brain architecture and increase language development. At the same time, these simple but powerful interactions promote strong parent-child attachments and, thus, protection against child abuse and neglect.
This special initiative engages community partners to saturate Hillsborough County with this message by disseminating materials, developing resources, and directly educating parents. We collaborate with those who have established and trusted relationships with their clients and children, so they can provide them with necessary tools to make every day moments meaningful by talking, reading, and singing! During the pandemic, we have also increased our focus on offering digital resources for parents who are now facilitating their child’s learning at home.
In October 2020, we were grateful to be awarded a grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay to support this important work! Here are a few of the key ways Champions has been spreading the word about TALK READ SING since receiving the grant:
Training Trusted Messengers: We have trained more than 50 “Trusted Messengers,” bringing our total since launching the campaign to over 100. By taking what they learn and incorporating it into their everyday work with families and children, these individuals help TALK READ SING messages reach far more families than we ever could on our own.
Deploying Strategic Messaging: Our community partners have worked with us to distribute materials and information to their own participants, including (but not limited to) signage at ZooTampa; informational cards in Healthy Start Coalition mailers; and board books, tip sheets, and tote bags to patients attending their Prenatal and Well-Baby visits at Tampa Family Health Centers. Dr. Ashley McPhie, Director of Pediatrics at Tampa Family Health Centers said of our partnership:
“Through our partnership with TALK READ SING Tampa Bay we have been able to spark the important conversations around literacy and learning. It is a fun way to engage our patients and get them interested in building the minds of their children. Not to mention, books are great!”
Leveraging Social and Traditional Media: Throughout the pandemic, we found creative ways to reach parents, caregivers, and partners online! Through our website and Facebook and Instagram channels, we were able to develop a “resource hub” with activities and tips for parents to have positive interactions with their children. This has been an especially powerful tool for combatting the stress of isolating together at home. Here’s what one family had to say about our online resources:
“As a retired teacher I’ve been helping out my grandsons with their remote learning – it’s been quite an experience for all of us! I was trying to find some new online resources to use with them and was able to find some excellent ones thanks to TALK READ SING Tampa Bay’s website!”
We look forward to another year of spreading this critical message to parents, caregivers, and anyone with a child in their life in Hillsborough County. Soon, we will be able to directly engage and interact with parents, children, and partners as well as continue to bring these resources to families where they already gather such as community events, laundromats, waiting rooms, etc. Keep your eyes peeled in 2021 for TALK READ SING Tampa Bay “book nooks,” signage, and trusted messengers spreading the word throughout our community!