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Casey DeSantis
Casey DeSantis


Sports Teams, Athletes Back First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Resiliency Initiative to Empower Florida Students

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Unveiled at Amway Arena, professional sports teams, organizations, and athletes from across Florida are lending their support for these resiliency efforts.

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At the end of last week, 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 Gov. 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 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 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 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.”

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“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 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, 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.

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.

The 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 and the LPGA are all partnering up on the effort. So are several leading figures from the sports world including 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 and Chris Mueller.



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Ed Dean is a leading radio and news media personality including hosting the #1 statewide radio talk show in Florida. Contact

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