A community champion is any individual who works hard and effectively to start or support an initiative, to bring a program or vision to reality, or to otherwise improve the quality of life of a particular group or of the community as a whole. Community champions initiate and maintain the often difficult and frustrating work that sustains the health of a community. Effective community champions believe in the process and support and maintain it, often in the face of opposition. Champions focus on keeping everyone moving toward the group’s goals, even when it may feel like momentum has stalled.
The champion for your developmental screening and referral efforts will serve as the “voice” of your initiative. Look for a champion with passion for, and experience with, developmental screening and referral. The champion in your community may come from one of the backgrounds listed below.
- Pediatric health care
- Early care and education
- Part C/Early intervention services
- Family supports
- Mental and behavioral health
Consider a community champion possessing some or all of the following critical qualities:
- Networking skills in establishing and maintaining appropriate contacts.
- Interpersonal skills such as listening and identifying the concerns of others
- Ability to function patiently and effectively in an uncertain environment.
- Stimulates motivation and commitment in others involved.
- Negotiates with key players for resources and changes in procedures.
- Demonstrates political awareness in balancing conflicting goals and perceptions.
- Influencing skills in gaining commitment to project plans and ideas from skeptics.
WANTED: Community Champion
Must be knowledgeable, trustworthy, accessible, approachable and willing to share knowledge with others, willing to support and advocate for process changes and implement new guidelines, and serve as a resource for others.
The successful candidate will have a wide peer and social network, as well as extensive experience establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships.