TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis recognized National Mentoring Month by highlighting the success of Hope Florida – A Pathway to Promise. Since its launch four months ago, Hope Florida – A Pathway to Promise has coordinated over 500 youth aging out of foster care with mentors. This initiative, facilitated by the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office (GAL), provides foster youth with a supportive mentor, who serves as a committed, caring adult as the youth transitions into adulthood, providing a lifeline for questions and advice related to living independently.
“A mentoring relationship can open hearts and change the trajectory of a foster child’s life,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “It is heartwarming to witness the growing number of Floridians stepping up to invest in foster youth. Their commitment to serve as someone a youth can turn to for well-informed guidance, encouragement, and help in solving problems is creating hope and uplifting the next generation.”
“The community has always been the backbone of GAL and we recognize the important role everyday community members make in the lives of the abused, neglected, and abandoned children our Office represents,” said Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office Executive Director Dennis W. Moore. “Community volunteers have again stepped up to help. Under the First Lady’s leadership, this Hope Florida initiative allows our Office to provide even more support for youth aging out of foster care by connecting them with a dedicated mentor who can answer questions, connect them with new opportunities and services, and make a lasting impression.”
As more youth age out of Florida’s foster care system, the need for mentors increases. Organizations and individuals interested in becoming involved in the Hope Florida – A Pathway to Promise mentoring initiative can visit GAL’s website HERE.
Hope Florida, launched by First Lady DeSantis in 2021, has been implemented by multiple agencies, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office. This initiative utilizes Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity and economic self-sufficiency by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits, and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize support and uncover opportunities. These Hope Navigators are essential in helping individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to prosperity, develop long-term goals, map out a strategic plan, and work to ensure all sectors of the community have a ‘seat at the table’ to be a key part of the solution. In addition, Hope Navigators help identify and organize opportunities for Floridians who wish to help their neighbors by connecting community members, including Florida seniors, with volunteer and mentorship opportunities.