First Lady Casey DeSantis is the wife of Florida’s 46th Governor, Ron DeSantis. The Governor and First Lady DeSantis are loving parents to daughter, Madison (4 years old), son, Mason (3 years old) and daughter, Mamie (18 months old) – who is the first baby born in the Governor’s Mansion in more than 50 years. First Lady DeSantis has launched four major initiatives since Governor DeSantis was elected.
Most recently, First Lady DeSantis spearheaded Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, Economic Self-Sufficiency and Hope. Implemented through the Department of Children and Families, this initiative is uniting communities through “Care Navigators” who guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity by focusing on collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities – breaking down traditional community silos in an effort to maximize resources and uncover opportunities. Beneficiaries of this initiative include, but are not limited to, single parents, Floridians on government assistance, mothers contending with substance abuse disorders, and children aging out of the foster care system. Any Floridian can learn more about connecting with a Pathway to Prosperity ‘Care Navigator’ by visiting HopeFlorida.com or by calling 850-300-HOPE.
In February of 2021, First Lady DeSantis launched the Resiliency Florida initiative – a partnership with professional sports teams and athletes – including Tom Brady, David Beckham, Peyton Manning, Lou Holtz, Tony Dungy, Urban Meyer, Crystal Thomas, Ali Marpet, Bryant McFadden, Mark Richt, Twan Russell, Corey Simon, Tra Thomas, Jonathan Vilma, Charlie Ward, Tyler Johnson, Joey Logano, Brandon Lowe, and Chris Mueller – to address the stigma surrounding mental health. These teams and athletes are lending their voices and personal stories of resilience and hope to empower Florida students to persevere through adversity. As a part of this initiative, First Lady DeSantis is working with Volunteer Florida and the Florida Department of Education on the Hope Ambassadors program – a network of over 100 middle and high school clubs encouraging a campus culture of kindness and empathy through peer-to-peer mentoring and volunteerism.
Additionally, to support the Resiliency Florida initiative, First Lady DeSantis worked with the Department of Education to develop Character Education Standards to be taught in Florida’s K-12 schools. Passed unanimously by the State Board of Education in July of 2021, these are Florida’s first standards for Character Education, setting clear expectations for students and teachers and providing opportunities for students to learn how character contributes to the overall civic health of a society and understand the importance of resiliency, responsibility, and respect.
In December of 2019, First Lady DeSantis launched “The Facts. Your Future.” campaign – a public affairs partnership between the Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Education. This initiative empowers students with the facts surrounding substance abuse and how it negatively impacts their lives. A major announcement and new developments on this initiative are expected later this year.