In the Villages this week, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the expansion of her Hope Florida initiative to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
This expansion, called Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose, will provide support for Florida’s elders by increasing assistance for seniors in need while helping to facilitate opportunities for seniors looking to serve.
This announcement comes on the heels of the First Lady’s Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity initiative, which she launched in 2021 to break down traditional community silos to unite the private sector, faith-based institutions, non-profits, and government entities to maximize resources and uncover opportunities for Floridians in need. Implemented by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity has served nearly 50,000 individuals, helping them find an individualized path to prosperity, economic self-sufficiency, and hope.
With the expansion, the Department of Elder Affairs and the state’s eleven Area Agencies on Aging established their own Hope Navigators, who will further break down traditional community silos by uniting seniors and caregivers with community partners, giving seniors direct access to help locating immediate needs. In addition, the Hope Navigators will help identify ways for these seniors to find purpose, which could take the form of volunteering or mentoring. With Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose, faith and private sector entities in Florida’s communities who want to help meet the needs of seniors can also sign up to receive real-time alerts of requests for assistance in their area and, when able, volunteer services in response.
“Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose is an all-hands-on-deck operation to meet the needs of seniors while creating opportunities for them to give back,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “We are not only aiding Floridians in search of help, but also tapping into the Florida retiree population to volunteer. It’s incredible to see 45 seniors already lined up as Hope Heroes today; we are grateful for their willingness to serve and are committed to making it easier for them to do so. We are also expanding the role of the private sector and faith-based organizations by alerting those who wish to help but may not know of seniors’ needs in their area. I’m happy to say that with today’s expansion, we are continuing the Hope Florida theme of organizing the generosity and goodness of neighbors to help one another.”
“We are thrilled to be part of Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose and to launch the Hope Heroes initiative,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. “Florida has a robust aging network that has an engaging presence in each local community. It’s our goal to ensure seniors are living well and aging well in the place of their choosing. Hope Florida is an innovative and thoughtful initiative that gives us a new, hands-on approach to care.”
“We are so appreciative of the First Lady’s commitment and dedication to ensuring the needs of our State’s most vulnerable populations are met,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “Through Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, we are helping to connect those in need with individuals and organizations who want to help and are so excited to see the program expand to serve Florida’s seniors.”
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