Make a Worst to First Press Release

We want people to know about the work Worst To First is doing to make Florida a better place.  This is a sample of a press release you can use to create your own press release or blog story to send to your local media or post on your blog.


Change it however you want to make it personal.   Put in a quote from yourself or your friends that says how you feel about education and children’s health care in Florida, and what you plan to do to make a difference.  Make sure to put in a phone number and e-mail address where you can be reached.  Add pictures.  Send it to us at the Lawton Chiles Foundation, and we’ll help you send it to your local media. We will post it on the Worst To First blog and send your story to everyone across the state.  Your story can reach thousands of people and make a real difference.




CONTACT: Your name here, phone number, e-mail

[Local area] Students Lead Statewide Effort to Improve the Future of Children in Florida

Group of [number] students from [local area] are inspired by President Clinton’s speech at the Lawton Chiles Leadership Corps

Students from [local area] got a chance to get up close and personal with President Clinton this month as they helped launch the Lawton Chiles Leadership Corps in Orlando.  Clinton was the keynote speaker at the first gathering of the student leadership program, which brought together nearly 300 students from around Florida at the University of Central Florida campus.

The students from [list area schools] spent the weekend of August 8-9 brainstorming creative ways to use the media to get their message out, and participated in training sessions with experts including UCF’s Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government.


The Lawton Chiles Leadership Corps was organized by The Lawton Chiles Foundation and co-chaired by Sen. Mel Martinez, Sen. Bill Nelson, and former Sen. Bob Graham.  High school and college students from around Florida will spend the next year working to improve the way Florida educates and cares for its children.  One project that the students are working on is to gather the signatures of one million Floridians on the “Pledge for Florida’s Children.”

The pledge says that: “I believe that Florida can be a leader again by putting children first in health and safety, and by giving them an education for the future.   I pledge to do my part in ensuring we make better investments in the success of our children.”

“Just because 41 other states have higher high school graduation rates than you do, you don’t think that there are 41 other states where God made the children smarter do you?”  President Clinton asked the group gathered at the University of Central Florida. “Leadership today is deciding how to solve these problems and then going out and doing it.   Once you believe tomorrow does not have to be like yesterday, the whole world opens up.   You can make a better tomorrow for Florida.”

“I am so proud of the energy and dedication these students are bringing to help kids in the state of Florida improve education and health,” said Bud Chiles, president of The Lawton Chiles Foundation. “Government doesn’t make things work, people do.”  These are the people who are going to go out and make this state a better place for our children.”

Independent research shows Florida lagging most of the nation in these indicators. For example:

  • Florida ranks 49th in the nation in the percent of children without health insurance.   About 19 percent, or 763,000 children, do not have insurance, compared with a national average of 11 percent.
  • Florida ranks 47th in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester, with 70 percent, or more than 71,000 women.
  • Florida ranks 36th in the nation in the percent of low-birth weight babies, defined as babies weighing less than 5 ½ pounds at birth, 8.7 percent of all births, or nearly 21,000 babies a year.
  • As a state, Florida spends only 3.1% of its resources on education – 42nd in the nation.
  • Florida ranks 50th in per capita spending on education, but ranks 16th in the nation in spending on corrections.
  • Florida ranks 43rd in high school graduation rates, with 60.8 percent of public high school students graduating with a diploma.
  • Florida students rank 48th in the nation in average composite scores on the ACT, a standard college entrance exam.
  • Florida ranks 48th in the nation in juvenile incarceration rates, with a custody rate of 451.8 per 100,000 children ages 10 and up.
  • Florida ranks 41st in child abuse fatalities, with 2.9 child abuse fatalities per 100,000 children.

Other speakers at the two-day event John Kelly, strategic advisor for the Corporation for National and Community Service; David Lawrence Jr., former Miami Herald publisher and chairman of The Children Trust; former State Representative Dick Batchelor; former State Representative Loranne Ausley; Orange County Schools Superintendent Ron Blocker; Michael Robbins, special assistant for faith-based and neighborhood partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education; and Stephanie Doan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.