Friday, December 13, 2013

To the people of the great state, Alabama:

It is my hope and prayer that during my time as First Lady, people feel loved and heard. The more time I spend learning about my home state and the more opportunities I have to meet our people, the more honored I feel to serve. We have rich traditions, beautiful landscapes, and our people have hearts of gold. Although my chosen platforms focus on three major areas, I feel they are widely encompassing. I work with women to help promote healthy marriages and families and fight to end domestic violence in our state. Whether its through visiting domestic violence shelters, handing out blankets, donating old devices to Verizon's HopeLine program, or standing in silence at vigils, I want to stand strong and stand for healing in our homes. I support children and their adoption through foster care because to me, everyone should have a family and a forever home. Every person in Alabama deserves someone to remember their birthdays, to celebrate Christmas, and to encourage them through life's journey. We all need support and love. I also promote literacy and education through a variety of national programs. Reading is fundamental and in order for our state to continue its success, we must have the students in our classrooms today, prepared for higher education and/or the workplace tomorrow.

I will be adding another facet to my agenda by spending time promoting Alabama. It is something I have always done but it is something that merits more attention. It is important to me that people recognize Alabama for the treasure it is and spend time exploring our hidden gems. I want to let everyone know about the adventure they can find in their backyards, the delicious food made close to home, and the talent of our people. Who knows, I may make a trip to your town, park, or local eatery!

Really to me, my job as First Lady is to take care of our people and show everyone why we are all proud to call Alabama home. Join me as I continue to promote domestic violence awareness, adoption through foster care, literacy, and Alabama. As 2013 winds down to a close, make your New Year's resolution to join me in support of at least one of these causes. It is easy to get involved and it is so rewarding.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas season and an exciting New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

HopeLine for the Holidays

For the past year and a half, I have championed domestic violence awareness and prevention throughout the state of Alabama. I believe that healthy families are the foundation for healthy communities. While many of us are decorating our homes and excitedly planning for friends and family to visit this holiday season, some people are instead experiencing stress and anxiety during this time. Nationally, domestic violence cases decrease during the holidays. Women try to make their relationships work so they can stay home during the holiday season instead of being in a shelter. However, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the number of domestic violence cases increases immediately following the holidays.

I discovered a program through Verizon Wireless that allows all of us to play a role in decreasing the incidence of domestic violence in our state. Through HopeLine, Verizon collects no-longer-used phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider. The phones are then refurbished or recycled and the proceeds go to support the efforts of law enforcement, advocacy groups, shelters and other non-profits across the country via refurbished phones or cash grants.

I encourage each of you participate in HopeLine for the Holidays with me. As you undertake your holiday preparations, if you come across a cell phone or any wireless accessories just taking up space in a drawer, turn them in to HopeLine. If that special someone gifts you with a new device, donate the old one. The process is simple – just take the phone to a company-owned Verizon Wireless store or visit the HopeLine page on Verizon's website to print a pre-paid mailing label.

During the holidays and year-round, domestic violence shelters in Alabama count on community support to help them care for the victims they serve. By donating your old devices, you can help save someone’s life. Together let’s bring hope to these victims this holiday season.