Born out of a desire to help children in need, the Children’s Services Foundation began in 1994. Since 2010, it has been called the Champion for Children Foundation, and it will celebrate its 20th anniversary on June 20.
Kevin Roberts, one of those founders and current CEO of the Foundation, said the organization has “far, far, far exceeded my expectations. I had no idea it would become a full-time job for me or that we would be able to offer so many services or opportunities,” he said.
Roberts, along with Ruth Handley, who was the superintendent of schools in ’94, and then-county commissioner Doris Gentry are all founders of the Champion for Children Foundation.
“The idea for this type of foundation was born out of frustration for a need of something like this,” said Roberts. “It is our goal, passion, desire and objective to help the children and families in our community as much and as quickly as possible; the majority of our assistance happening within 24 hours of the time the issue is presented to us,” said Roberts. “We also try our best to help and donate to other agencies with common goals, such as Boy Scouts or Big Brothers/Big Sisters organizations.”
The Foundation’s stated mission is “to help youth mature into responsible adult members of a global society ... It begins with providing the best possible environment where each child can develop to his or her greatest potential.”
The majority of cases or situations referred to the Foundation come from community professionals or through Jeff Roth at Sebring’s Children Advocacy Center.
Being a founder and CEO means Roberts has been with the Foundation since the start, first part time and then full time as of 2007. Roberts oversees all day-to-day operations of the Foundation, as well as a board of 10 directors, programs and fundraising. He also meets with potential families they may help and serves as a face for the Foundation and its community engagement.
For the first 13 years of his work for the Foundation, he did not accept any salary because he did not want to take away from the organization’s funds.
“I just want people to be aware of the successful initiatives we have implemented into our Foundation. We have helped thousands of people and have had an unbelievable impact on children and families in this community,” said Roberts. “I owe it to my board and their support and encouragement toward me. … they are humble, strong in their faith, and make sacrifices for their work. I am also in debt to the community for their love and continuous support for the Foundation,” said Roberts.
“I owe so much to our board president, Nancy Hensley, for her love, support, encouragement, and I am truly indebted to her for that. She is a tremendously wonderful southern lady who has worked and stuck by my side through all the initiatives we have made,” Roberts said.
Currently, the Foundation is working on a project called the Nevaeh Fund, raising funds for a 6-year-old girl who suffers from a Binocular Processing Disorder.
The Champion for Children Foundation’s office is at 419 E. Center Ave. in Sebring. Roberts can be contacted at 863-382-2905.
Visit www.championforchildren.org for more information.