At Bright Futures, our rally cry is “every child needs a champion,” but what does that really mean? 

We live in a society of hero worship with superhero movies being among the most popular films out there. We all look up to the superhero who swoops in when a catastrophe occurs, and then zooms away when it’s over. 

We love heroes as much as the next guy, but we believe in having someone there to prevent the catastrophe in the first place. Someone who won’t zoom away, because as long as there is a child in need, the work is never done.

This where a champion comes in. When we think of someone who is a champion, we tend to think of someone who is a winner, but when we talk about champions, we aren’t talking about the noun— we’re talking about the verb. It’s an action word. Being a champion is all about taking action. We’re not looking for a winner. We’re looking for a doer.

The definition of the word champion as a verb is:

To act as a supporter of, to uphold or advocate; to protect or fight for as a champion.

Champions support the things that matter, and what matters more than our children? They need people who are there every day, putting in the work to help provide them with not only their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and a place to live, but also their educational and emotional needs. We want to ensure that all children have the same access to extracurricular activities as well, because it boosts their self-confidence, and gives them a sense of belonging. 

We help connect schools to the local businesses, places of worship, and organizations in the community to find those champions. 

Anyone can be a champion. All you have to do is see a need and then use your time, talent, or treasure to fill that need.

A champion can use their time to take a child to football practice. They can use their talent to help coach or even simply play catch with a child. They can use their treasure to purchase cleats for a child in need.

A champion can help fill bags with donated food, prepare food, or donate food to families in need.

A champion can volunteer to help children who struggle with reading in a classroom, volunteer to read to children in the library, or even come to discuss their career with a class. You never know what is going to spark a child’s interest, and change the course of their life.

When we say “every child needs a champion” we mean it. EVERY child. 

Sometimes it’s simple to know when a child is in need, but that’s not always the case. A needy child isn’t necessarily living on the street or in a shelter. A needy child isn’t necessarily in an unsafe environment with a parent or guardian who doesn’t care about their well-being. 

Sometimes a needy child lives with a single mother who is working three jobs just to make ends meet. Sometimes a needy child lives in a two-parent home, where a parent has been laid off, or a parent is ill, or has been in an accident, and has overwhelming medical bills. And sometimes the family’s finances have nothing to do with the need, and the child simply needs an adult to listen and give guidance and inspiration.

It just takes one person believing in and inspiring a child to change the course of that child’s life. One person willing to give time, talent, or treasure. One person to be a champion for that child. 

Heroes are great, and I am grateful that we have them to rescue us when there is a catastrophe, but when it comes to what we need every day, we’re looking for the folks who really care. The folks who see what needs to be done every day to support, to uphold, to advocate, to protect, and to fight for what matters. 

We’ve got lots of heroes. What the world really needs right now is more doers.