Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell Launches the First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort
– First Lady's Hallmark Initiative Will Recognize Virginians Who Get Involved and Give Back –
RICHMOND – Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell on Wednesday launched The First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort ("FLITE") which will recognize programs, activities, organizations and individuals who embody the ideal of creating a Commonwealth of Opportunity in their communities. FLITE will bring attention to the work being done by selfless people around the state who are working tirelessly to leave the Commonwealth a better place for generations to come.
FLITE will recognize achievement within the four key areas the First Lady has identified as her focus over the next four years:
- A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Preventive Health and Wellness
- A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Economic Development, with a specific focus on the Virginia Wine, Film, and Tourism Industries
- A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Military Families
- A Commonwealth of Opportunity for Women
The initiative will recognize and celebrate Virginians who are creating a "Commonwealth of Opportunity." Over the next four years, Mrs. McDonnell hopes to establish and maintain an electronic bulletin board of successful efforts in the four key areas identified, as well as showcase recognized efforts on a website designed to provide information to communities and citizens that wish to replicate or get involved in these programs. She will also work to increase awareness and aid in implementation of successful initiatives across Virginia.
Eighty women from all across the Commonwealth gathered at the Executive Mansion on Wednesday for a three hour working lunch. They were asked to begin to identify programs, activities, individuals and organizations that meet criteria for recognition. In November, Mrs. McDonnell will announce the first FLITE recognized programs which will be named to her "Opportunity Hall of Fame".
Speaking about yesterday's FLITE Launch, Mrs. McDonnell remarked, "In his Inaugural Address, my husband called on Virginians to pursue the vision of 'A Commonwealth of Opportunity' and asked all Virginians to get involved in their communities. FLITE will identify programs, activities, individuals and organizations all across Virginia doing great work to improve their neighborhoods, towns, regions and the Commonwealth, ultimately leaving this a better place than they found it. I have asked this initial group of outstanding women from every region of Virginia to be my eyes and ears, looking for programs and individuals making an impact in their local communities."
Mrs. McDonnell continued, "We decided to highlight people getting involved and giving back in four key areas: promoting health and wellness; economic development, particularly Virginia wine, tourism and the film industry; supporting our military families; and, recognizing and encouraging Virginia's women. These are all areas close to my heart. By reaching out into our communities to find individuals, groups, teams or organizations making an impact, we will begin to bring recognition and support to efforts in every corner of the Commonwealth. And the First Lady's Initiatives Team Effort will provide people everywhere with information on how to join in. Now is the time for every Virginian to get engaged in their community, be a good neighbor, and get involved. Now is the time for all of us to work together to create a "Commonwealth of Opportunity."
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