Signs of Hope amid the Pandemic
Kurt Kelly, CEO and President, Florida Coalition for Children
It was another action-packed week at the Florida Coalition for Children! We met with partners around the state who work on many of the key issues discussed on our weekly calls, so please join us every Monday at 8 a.m. to hear the latest reports about our children and families. If you need call-in information, please contact Lauren White at [email protected]
This week I want to focus on the meeting of the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet on Wednesday. It marked the first time members of the Cabinet were able to meet together in 2020 because of the pandemic.
The Florida Coalition for Children very much appreciates First Lady Casey DeSantis, who chairs the Cabinet, for focusing on children’s issues including many that we’re working on. She is a wonderful champion for the children of Florida along with the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis. During the meeting, First Lady Casey DeSantis described a sign of hope amid the challenges of the pandemic. See the 90-second clip here.
We also thank Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell for his commitment to team up with our Coalition on numerous issues. He’s joined on the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet by our own Victoria Vangalis Zepp, one of FCC’s fiercest advocates, as well as my dear friend. I appreciate her hard work on the Children’s Cabinet, and I admire the tenacious heart she brings to children’s issues. I am continuously heartened and inspired by our staff and members of the Coalition, who care so deeply and work so professionally.
I want to congratulate Erik Dellenback, who leads the Governor’s Faith and Community-based Initiative, on his fine presentation to the Cabinet. Erik is dedicated to connecting with members of our Coalition, as well as other faith and community groups, to strengthen Florida’s ability to help vulnerable children and families.
Florida is uniquely positioned to be very successful engaging our faith community because of our community-based care model. The work being done is an important collaborative effort with our state, our faith community and our community leaders.
Erik shares that attitude. He told members of the Children and Youth Cabinet that Florida is poised to enlist many more faith and community organizations on behalf of children.
“I don’t want to overstate this, but 16.5 million people in our state claim to be faith-based,” Dellenback said. “It represents about 20,000 faith institutions in our state. As a people group, I don’t have to teach them to love people in most cases. This is a tremendous space for us to have the opportunity that, as our vulnerable populations have become more vulnerable, as the secretary shared, our capacity to meet need has risen, which is a wonderful part of our state.”
In closing, please remember our joint meeting of the Board of Directors of the Florida Coalition for Children and the Florida Coalition for Children Foundation next week. The pandemic will require us to meet online and while that’s not the same as working with you in person, I am looking forward to seeing you on my computer screen to discuss the Coalition’s important issues.