Champions Today

Our Sponsors

Our sponsors have stepped forward with us to effect change to protect our children from abuse. The prevention of child maltreatment is challenging. That is, partnerships with community leaders and effective strategic collaboration are essential in order to protect our children from harm. We hold our sponsors in high esteem and sincerely appreciate their contributions.


Board of Directors

Louis Tayon
City of Chesapeake Community Leader

Gail Heath Davidson
Immediate Past President
VDSS Eastern Regional Office-CPS Consultant

Melynda Ciccotti
Secretary/Executive Director
Champions For Children: Prevent Child Abuse HR

Betty Wade Coyle
Advocacy Chair
Director Emeritus,
Champions For Children:
Prevent Child Abuse HR

Lynn Crump
Assistant Vice President, TowneBank

Larry Grossman
Community Solutions

Dr. Lucien Lombardo
Professor Emeritus
Old Dominion University

Dr. Nancy Welch
Chesapeake Health Department

The Honorable Nancy Parr
Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chesapeake

Erinn Portnoy
Child Advocacy Center, CHKD

Navine Fortune
Child Development Director, Norfolk State University

Melynda Ciccotti, Executive Director

Melynda Ciccotti has held the position of Executive Director since June 2015. Now, Ms. Ciccotti
serves on the national committee to end corporal punishment and is engaged in a major effort to
make Hampton Roads a No Hit Zone community. No Hit Zone is currently the major project of
Champions for Children and now gaining many supporters in the both the corporate and
community world. The project, through training and presentations, educates citizens and child
advocacy professionals on the research supporting the ending of corporal punishment and caring
and compassionate ways to end the hitting of children. Ms. Ciccotti actively engages with the
state organization’s (Families Forward Virginia) Advocacy Committee and works with
lawmakers on delivering best laws to protect children from ever being harmed.

Under Ms. Ciccotti’s leadership the organization has supplied, with a strong group of trained
volunteers, a number of community child abuse prevention trainings for adults who care for
children- daycare providers, faith-based preschools, public school and community nurses, and
college students majoring in the human services field.  The most popular offering is the
nationally touted child sexual abuse program Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children. Some of
the other most requested trainings are on advocacy, mandated reporting and safe churches.
A series of different positions all led her to where she is today. Just out of college she worked as
a teacher and then spent 15-years as a School Psychologist. In these positions, she encountered
many children with compromised day-to-day functioning because of the trauma caused by a
multitude of unsafe and harmful environments. Most recently, Melynda worked as Deputy
Director for a Hampton Roads issue-oriented business group that provides private sector
leadership to the Virginia Beach community. The work of this group focused on information
gathering and problem solving for complex regional issues.

A graduate of Meredith College, her training in Psychology, graduate training in School
Psychology and Early Childhood Education are the underpinnings which guide her in her work
to reduce child maltreatment in all its forms, making communities and the world a better place
for everyone.