Selection Process


Selection of the Highlands County “Champion for Children” begins with nominations submitted by the general public. Every year since 2000, the Champion for Children Foundation has issued a call seeking nominees who meet the following criteria:

  • Resides in Highlands County
  • Demonstrates a deep, caring desire to help children
  • Has taken action to address a problem facing children or youth
  • Has provided at least five years of service directly affecting the well-being of children

The Nomination deadline for the 19th Annual Judge Clifton M. Kelly Champion for Children Awards Gala has passed.

All nominees are reviewed carefully by a Screening Committee. This Committee identifies Finalists who are asked to prepare more detailed summaries of their advocacy for children and youth.

Then a Special Selection Committee reviews the records of each Finalist and applies additional criteria. By definition, the CHAMPION FOR CHILDREN is an individual who (a) addresses a broad problem affecting a large number of children or youth, (b) demonstrates a long-term commitment to finding solutions to the problem, primarily at the local level, (c) gives personal volunteer service over and above the expectations of his/her career or profession, and (d) promotes continuation of his/her advocacy or service by enlisting others to join in solving the problem, thus producing ‘a ripple effect’ that enhances the well being of children and the community.

At the annual Judge Clifton M. Kelly Champion for Children Awards Gala, now approaching its 19th year, Finalists are recognized and the name of the new Champion for Children, a closely held secret, is announced. The recipient is awarded a beautiful trophy, special gifts, and the honor of serving on the Children’s Services Council the following year.