Children First wins WEDU ‘Be More’ Award

February 27, 2017

A girl with a big pink bow in her hair having fun on a seesaw
Teacher and girl in classroom

Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programs, was awarded the WEDU “Be More Informed” Nielsen Marketing Campaign Award during the 2017 WEDU Be More Awards Luncheon & Ceremony in Tampa on February 23. Children First was recognized for our “Raise Your Hand” campaign.

The “Be More Informed” award recognizes the execution of creative and results-driven original marketing campaigns using multimedia platforms including, but not limited to, broadcast, print, social media and/or grassroots awareness campaigns. Applicants were required to demonstrate direct impact to established goals. The other finalists in this category were the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc., Big Cat Rescue, Children’s Board Heart Gallery of Tampa, Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Inc. and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Inc.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as a winner in the WEDU Be More Awards,” said Philip Tavill, president and CEO of Children First. “The Raise Your Hand campaign has been unique in so many ways, and certainly effective. We are incredibly grateful to our campaign ambassadors and all those who are supporting this initiative for the vulnerable children and families we serve.”

The Raise Your Hand Campaign, which officially launched in April 2016 and is still in progress, is a $3.8 million initiative to expand services for at-risk children and their families in Sarasota County. The campaign’s four goals are: to enhance services for families with emotional and behavioral health needs, to intensify the role of family advocates who offer guidance and support to families served by Children First, to offer increased individualized attention for students in the classrooms, and to serve more children and families in need. Campaign Ambassadors were featured on multiple media channels, explaining why they support Children First. The organization has raised more than 90% of its goal for the campaign and is still gratefully accepting donations at this time.

According to WEDU, the Be More Awards are an effort to celebrate the human spirit and showcase the best work by nonprofit organizations throughout 16 counties in West Florida. The judges are impartial business, philanthropic and civic leaders from the WEDU viewing area.

For more information about Children First, call (941) 953-3877 or go to

PHOTO ID: Event hosts Jack Harris of Newsradio 970 WFLA-AM (left) and Lissette Campos of ABC Action News and ‘Positively Tampa Bay’ (far right) with Children First president and CEO Philip Tavill and director of advancement and stewardship, Kristen Theisen