Major Sports Teams, Organizations & Athletes Unite to Support First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Resiliency Initiative to Empower Florida Students

Press release from the Office of Governor DeSantis

Partnerships Include: Orlando Magic, Orlando City SC, Orlando Pride, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Inter Miami CF, Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins, Miami Marlins, Florida Panthers, NASCAR, LPGA

Athletes Endorsing Initiative Include:

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, Jonathan Isaac, Charlie Ward,Tyler Johnson, Joey Logano, Brandon Lowe, Chris Mueller

Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the launch of a resiliency initiative for Florida schools to emphasize key character development skills including volunteerism, teamwork, and problem solving. Unveiled at Amway Arena, professional sports teams, organizations, and athletes from across Florida are lending their support for these resiliency efforts.

“Our goal is to rethink and reframe the way we talk about mental wellbeing in schools by promoting topics such as critical thinking, problem solving, responsibility, volunteerism, mentorship, and physical activity,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “By partnering with Florida sports teams and athletes, students will become more engaged and excited to learn about resiliency. Resilient athletes and Floridians overcome setbacks and serve as role models highlighting why these critical skills are important.”

“Given the lessons I’ve learned traveling the state, we are changing the message on mental health and reframing it to resiliency and hope,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “We want to empower our youth with the tools and the skillsets to be resilient by learning how to persevere through life’s challenges. We know no one is immune from adversity and hardship. It’s not whether you’ll have challenges in life but it’s about how you respond and persevere.”

The Governor and First Lady were joined by legendary former football player, coach, and analyst Lou Holtz, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Richard Corcoran, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Florida Corey Simon, and the Orlando Magic’s CEO Alex Martins.

“Resiliency is created through perseverance and education – built on the strength that comes from overcoming that adversity,” said Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “This announcement spearheaded by First Lady Casey DeSantis further solidifies our commitment to ensuring Florida’s students are provided all the tools necessary to succeed in life. With the establishment of forward-thinking curriculum and meaningful partnerships, we are creating a statewide culture that is instinctively supportive and laser-focused on creating resilient students.”

“Volunteer Florida is proud to partner with the Governor, First Lady DeSantis, and sports teams from across our great state for this innovative educational program encouraging students to be resilient in overcoming challenges,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon. “As a former professional athlete myself, I know that building these connections on the ground between teams and Florida’s students will provide key mentorship opportunities so our youth can better themselves and be encouraged to achieve their highest potential”.

This partnership is supported by resiliency lessons and resources hosted on www.cpalms.org, Florida’s premier one-stop-shop for teachers, students, and families that help bridge education in the classroom and at home. 

Additionally, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the successful launch of 25 Hope Ambassador Clubs throughout Florida. Florida statutes outline required instruction for a myriad of topics including mental health and character education (F.S.1003.42).

However, character education is the only section of required instruction that does not have aligned standards. So, in addition to the Resiliency Toolkit, First Lady Casey DeSantis called on FDOE to create character development standards.

For a list of Hope Ambassador Clubs throughout the state, visit http://www.fldoe.org/hopeambassadors/.

To view the resiliency toolkit, visit http://resiliency.cpalms.org.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Florida Professional Sports Teams, Organizations & Athletes Supporting First Lady DeSantis’ New Resiliency Initiative for Students

Florida professional major league sports teams and organizations from across Florida are applauding Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis for launching a new resiliency initiative for Florida schools to emphasize key character development skills including volunteerism, teamwork, and problem solving.

FOOTBALLMiami Dolphins “It’s easy for everyone to get behind an initiative that supports the mental and physical health of our young people; especially in these difficult times,” said Miami Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel.  “Governor and First Lady DeSantis have created a program that does just that and we look forward to working together with the state’s professional teams and sports leagues on this resiliency initiative.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are proud to partner with the Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis in promoting resiliency education for Florida students,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford. “Winning the Super Bowl was a major accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t face trials and tribulations along the way – hard work and determination were key to our success.”

Miami Marlins 
“We are excited to join Governor Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and partners across the state in this important initiative” said Rocky Egusquiza, Miami Marlins Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “The Miami Marlins have partnered across South Florida to support physical and mental wellness for our youth, and we understand how important it is for students to know that even though they feel hope may be lost, they have resources available to help them rise up to achieve success.”

Tampa Bay Rays 
“The Tampa Bay Rays commend Governor and First Lady DeSantis for recognizing the importance of preparing Florida’s students with the character development skills to help them adapt to any of life’s challenges,” said Tampa Bay Rays President Matt Silverman. “We are proud to partner with them on this resiliency initiative to ensure Florida students have the resources they need to succeed during even the most trying of times.”

Orlando Magic 
“Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis for providing an important tool to support Florida students’ wellbeing and long-term success,” said Orlando Magic’s CEO Alex Martins. “The Orlando Magic is proud to be part of this critical initiative that helps to reframe the way we talk about mental wellbeing and combine it with a focus on resiliency for our state’s students. We are all unique, yet a common thread is that we all face challenges. Learning strategies for overcoming obstacles of all sizes can help each and every student grow and succeed.”

Miami Heat “We often say there are some things that are bigger than basketball, and overcoming adversity is a case in point,” said Eric Woolworth, President of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “The Miami HEAT is proud to lend our support to this important resiliency initiative, founded by Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis, which encourages students to build the necessary skills to carry on, no matter the setback.”

Tampa Bay Lightning 
“The Tampa Bay Lightning are proud to stand with the Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis as they work to empower Florida students with crucial resiliency tools,” said Vinik Sports Group and Lightning CEO Steve Griggs. “As the 2020 Stanley Cup Champions, the Bolts know that you can’t expect to succeed if you only put in work on the days you feel like it.”

The Florida Panthers 
“The Florida Panthers are thrilled to partner with Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis to ensure a brighter future for our students,” said President and CEO Matt Caldwell. “Resilience is key to working through the challenges of life. Students have to learn and be given the chance to work through difficult problems with strong supports from parents, educators, and mentors.”

Orlando City and Orlando Pride 
“At Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride, we recognize that mental toughness and determination are key to living positive lives,” said Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride. “Our organizations appreciate this resiliency initiative to provide Florida students with the necessary skills to overcome obstacles in life.”

The Inter Miami CF 
“Inter Miami CF is proud to support the Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ new initiative for Florida students and we look forward to leading by example and showing resilience as a team,” said Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham. “As a professional athlete I know that as well as talent, it takes hard work, determination and resilience to achieve your goals.”

“The LPGA looks forward to partnering with Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis on this great initiative,” said Nancy Henderson, the LPGA’s Chief Teaching Officer and President of the LPGA Foundation. “It is imperative that students are given the opportunity to learn and develop new skills to help them grow into resilient Floridians.”

“As in life, resilience is a key component of competing on the racetrack, as you need to be prepared for anything that comes your way,” said Lesa Kennedy, Executive Vice Chair, NASCAR. “NASCAR is proud to join the Governor and First Lady as Florida works to impart important lessons in perseverance, critical thinking, and volunteerism, among other character-building skills, in our youth.”

Daytona International Speedway“Developing life skills that help our youth grow into successful adults is a critical component in building successful, thriving communities,” said Chip Wile, President, Daytona International Speedway. “Daytona International Speedway proudly supports the work our Governor and First Lady are leading as we seek to evolve mental wellness education for the next generation of Floridians.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway“We all have a stake in the future development of our state’s youth, and that starts with providing students with the necessary skills to develop into healthy, happy people,” said Al Garcia, President, Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Homestead-Miami Speedway is honored to work alongside the Governor and First Lady as we elevate important life skills with the future of our great state.”