On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, I was given an incredible opportunity: to meet President Obama and put our authors' stories in his hands.
I was there for the Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University, where President Obama and a panel of thought leaders were discussing the human, moral, and economic costs of poverty in this country, as well as the ever-widening opportunity gap for our young people. Our DC teen authors--many who have grown up in shelters and housing projects, who have taken on raising themselves or younger siblings while parents struggle with multiple jobs, or incarceration, or substance abuse or mental health challenges--have plenty to say about those human costs. They have plenty to say about pursuing greatness, too, against all odds.
Thanks to a generous White House staffer, I was able to meet the President briefly before the event, to swoon and shake his hand, and to snap a happy photograph. (Coming soon!) But most importantly, I was able to tell him about our authors, and to put their own stories in his hands.
His response: "These are outstanding. Can I find out more? And can I write back to these authors?"
I said Of Course and Oh Yes Yes Yes.
I included a note with the books so the President can follow-up. I want our authors to know: They have done something big. Something worthy of the greatest attention of our most powerful leaders. Their stories matter to ALL of us, and they need to be heard.
Stay tuned for author reactions. We'll show you what we can of this impact. But the best moments are for the authors themselves: lying awake at night in bed, heart racing and mind whirring because YOUR STORY is being read: by children in every school in the city, by families across the country, and now even by the leader of the free world. And then a moment even better: getting out of bed that next morning, with new potential, new possibility, new purpose.
Thank you for celebrating with us. Spread the word.