Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuscaloosa Candle Signing

First Lady Dianne Bentley was in Tuscaloosa Monday to promote Alabama small businesses and the Governor's Mansion candle line. It is Mrs. Bentley's goal to promote Alabama people and products while she serves the state, so when Vesta Taylor of Greenville approached her with the idea of candles, she seized the opportunity.

Vesta Taylor has an interior design background and believes that "a scent brings the finishing touch to a space." She has partnered with an Alabama candle company to develop these candles but does her own research on creating and combining the fragrance.

Now that the Governor's Mansion line is complete and in stores, Vesta Taylor will be unveiling new candles specially designed for Bates House of Turkey and Ross Bridge Resort. The First Lady wishes her the best of luck and hopes that the people of Alabama will continue to support local small businesses.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mansion at Springtime

Spring is here and the flowers at the Alabama Governor's Mansion are in bloom. It is such a joy to come outside every day and see the beauty of the complex grounds. The Governor's garden has been tilled and is ready for planting too, so we can expect more tomatoes this season.

We are truly blessed to call Alabama home.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Octavia Spencer Day

Yesterday, March 21, 2012, was proclaimed Octavia Spencer Day in Alabama. This was done to honor a beloved actress and an inspiring role model who calls Alabama home.

Octavia Spencer was born in Montgomery, Alabama and is the sixth of seven children. She graduated from Jefferson Davis High School then continued her education at Auburn University. She is most well known for her role in the movie The Help, when she played the part of an outspoken maid named Minny. She received an Academy Award for this film and in her acceptance speech, thanked the people of Alabama.

Her humble heart and gracious attitude impressed everyone she came in contact with as she assured members of the Alabama legislature that her home would always be in Alabama, no matter where she laid her head at night. She also encouraged them to pass a film incentives bill that would encourage productions to be filmed in Alabama. This would not only generate revenue for the state, but it would also promote tourism.

The Governor and First Lady were honored to meet and share time with such a talented actress. They even shared a few laughs and rivalry (Alabama vs Auburn) jokes with one another. "We are so grateful for the time Octavia spent with us. She was such a delightful person that we hope to have back home soon, maybe starring in a film produced in Alabama," said Mrs. Bentley.

Light the Way Campaign

For the second year, First Lady Dianne Bentley joined with other First Ladies across the nation to "Light the Way" in recognition of Down syndrome cognitive research.

First Lady of New Jersey, Mary Pat Christie said, "As a result of non-profit groups such as Research Down Syndrome, groundbreaking advances have been made which hold the near term promise to increase life opportunities for those with Down syndrome."

Downs syndrome results from the presence of three copies of chromosome 21. It is the most common chromosomal disorder, affecting over 400,000 people in the United States. Mrs. Bentley hopes that together, we can recognize our citizens living with this condition and inspire their loved ones in their continued efforts to advance cognitive research.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heart Gallery of Alabama Exhibit Connects Children in Foster Care with Adoptive Families

MONTGOMERY – First Lady Dianne Bentley hosted an event at the Governor’s Mansion to display a portion of the Heart Gallery of Alabama Exhibit.  The exhibit is now on display in the Alabama State Capitol and will remain there through March.

Heart Gallery of Alabama is an outreach program aimed at connecting children in foster care with adoptive families.  Heart Gallery recruits professional photographers to take meaningful portraits that capture the unique spirit of each child.  The portraits are put on display in a variety of venues across the state where prospective adoptive parents can learn more about the children in Alabama who are waiting on a family.

Mrs. Bentley became involved with Heart Gallery of Alabama after attending an exhibit in Tuscaloosa.  She chose to be an advocate for this program because, as an adoptive parent, she understands the blessings one receives through adoption.

“Heart Gallery is a program that deserves more attention. It is a wonderful resource for prospective parents, and it provides forever families to Alabama children,” Mrs. Bentley said.  “Every child deserves to have their birthday celebrated, a present on Christmas, and to know they are loved every day.  It is my hope that other families will feel called to open their homes for these foster children.  But even if you cannot adopt, I encourage you to be a mentor and a champion for such a worthy cause.”

Mrs. Bentley was joined at last night’s event by Nancy Buckner, Commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Human Resources, as well as representatives from Heart Gallery of Alabama and families who have adopted through the foster care process.

During the rest of the month of March, the exhibit will be on display at the Alabama State Capitol Building in the Old Supreme Court Library.  The full exhibit is also available online at Heart Gallery of Alabama’s website,

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Lady Dianne Bentley Donates Nearly 2,500 Phones to HopeLine® for Victims of Domestic Abuse

MONTGOMERY—First Lady Dianne Bentley on Monday donated nearly 2,500 cell phones and accessories that were recently collected to HopeLine®.

HopeLine® is a national recycling program by Verizon Wireless. The program collects wireless devices and accessories that are no longer used. The phones and accessories can be refurbished, recycled and/or sold, with phones and proceeds directly benefiting victims of domestic violence through grants and the donation of wireless phones and service.

Mrs. Bentley challenged the Governor’s staff and cabinet and their employees to collect and donate used cell phones and accessories after she attended an event at One Place Family Justice Center that highlighted the work of those involved in abuse prevention.

“It is my hope that others across the state will donate their unused phones and accessories to HopeLine® because when victims of abuse are given proper resources and support, it helps end the cycle of violence,” Mrs. Bentley said. “We live in a wonderful state, and this is just one more way we can give back as a community and make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.”

Mrs. Bentley’s original goal was to help collect 500 phones for HopeLine®. By the time donations were tallied from various cabinet departments and agencies, nearly 2,500 were collected.

Also Monday, Mrs. Bentley was presented with the 2012 HopeLine® Hero Award for her work to raise community awareness about the issue of domestic violence and for her leadership in the collection of the phones and accessories. In addition, Verizon announced a $5,000 HopeLine® grant would be given to the domestic violence outreach of Mrs. Bentley’s choice.

Jonathan LeCompte, president of the Verizon Wireless Georgia/Alabama region, said the donation of wireless devices will connect the phones with the people who need them most.

“Because of First Lady Bentley’s dedication to this cause, Verizon will be able to give more HopeLine® grant dollars in Alabama and put more phones in the hands of people who need them," LeCompte said. "We gratefully accept the donation and are honored to share the First Lady's commitment by providing HopeLine®  funding to a domestic violence outreach of her choosing.”

All models of phones and accessories from all wireless carriers can be donated to the HopeLine® program.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Read Across America 2012 at Oak Grove Elementary

Today, First Lady Dianne Bentley traveled to Oak Grove Elementary to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss and the start of Read Across America. She was greeted and welcomed in to the media center where an attentive group of third graders sat waiting for her arrival. She began by talking a little about her role as First Lady but then shared her love of reading. After she read, she answered questions from the students. Following the third graders, the kindergarten classes came in to read. They were dressed festive like Cat in the Hat to honor Dr. Seuss and his day. Each class got their picture with the First Lady before heading back to their room.

Mrs. Bentley spoke with press about the importance of reading and the positive influence books can have in a life. She hopes to read to more schools while she serves the state of Alabama as First Lady, in an effort to promote literacy.