On Saturday, August 11, Governor Rick Scott and several other local dignitaries visited the children at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes to help hand out colorful backpacks stuffed with school supplies. The kids jumped up and down with excitement and several even put their backpacks on as soon as they were given out. The room was lit up with smiles.
Governor Scott, who lived in public housing as a child, told the children about his humble beginnings and the role that churches played in helping him and his family as he was growing up. He encouraged the children to continue their education and to believe in themselves. He offered himself as living proof that anyone can achieve the American dream. Sheriff Grady Judd, Secretary David Wilkins from the Florida Department of Children and Families, and Representative Kelli Stargel also spoke to the children about the importance of education.
Governor Scott came to the event because of a personal invitation from 11-year Haley Burkhardt, who lives in Lakeland. Inspired by the movie Annie, she told her mom the next day she wanted to clean out her closet and give her toys away to kids who didn’t have what she did. She did just that and her charity of choice became Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.
This summer, Haley decided to be a part of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes back-to-school campaign with the help of some of her friends from Royal Majesty Pageants. They purchased backpacks and stuffed each one full of school supplies to help kids and teens living at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes Lakeland Campus start their school year off a little brighter. The governor was invited to the Lakeland campus to be a part of distributing the supplies.
“The world needs more everyday heroes like eleven-year old Haley to make a difference in the lives of children who need help,” said Charlie Cox, Vice President of Programs for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.
“One thing most kids have in common is the desire to feel good about themselves, fit in among their peers, and make a good first impression in school,” Cox said.
Haley Burkhardt shows us what a difference one child can make in the lives of dozens of other children. Just like Haley, each of us has the power to make a difference. Donating to the Back to School Fund can help the children under the care of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes during the 2012-2013 school year.
To donate or for more information, please call (863) 687-8811 or visit www.fbchomes.org today.
Check out some of the media coverage the event received:
The Lakeland Ledger
Bay News 9
Central Florida News 13