Tag Archives: youth empowerment

Advice for the President from the Youth

As I scanned the “Most Popular” of the NY Times, I clicked on “Dear Sir Obama: Presidential Advice.”  I thought the title a little strange, was this going to be another OpEd from a pundit?  

I was THRILLED to find out that the piece was by Jory John, an old friend and mentor from 826 Valencia, the absolutely inspiring and seminal writing center on Valencia Street in San Francisco (otherwise known as the location of where Saddleshoos was “discovered” as a teacher).  Jory is a fabulous writer of everything from essays to children’s books and one of the passionate and energetic people who makes 826 happen (visit his website to learn more about his many talents here).  He and the teams of employees and volunteers at the 826 centers across the country enlisted their youth to write letters to President-elect Obama.  How exciting to see the kids get to have a voice at the level of the New York Times.  Check it out!

Dear Sir Obama,

These are the first 10 things you should do as president:

1. Make everyone read books.
2. Don’t let teachers give kids hard homework.
3. Make a law where kids only get one page of homework per week.
4. Kids can go visit you whenever they want.
5. Make volunteer tutors get paid.
6. Let the tutors do all the thinking.
7. Make universities free.
8. Make students get extra credit for everything.
9. Give teachers raises.
10. If No. 4 is approved, let kids visit the Oval Office, but don’t make it boring.

— Mireya Perez, age 8, San Francisco

You’ve got to love a child interested in giving teachers raises and getting volunteer tutors at 826 paying gigs.

And another:

Dear President Obama,

Here is a list of the first 10 things you should do as president:

1. Fly to the White House in a helicopter.
2. Walk in.
3. Wipe feet. 
4. Walk to the Oval Office. 
5. Sit down in a chair. 
6. Put hand-sanitizer on hands. 
7. Enjoy moment. 
8. Get up.
9. Get in car. 
10. Go to the dog pound.

— Chandler Browne, age 12, Chicago

Don’t we all need 12-year-olds to remind us to “enjoy moment.”  Dig it.

You can view the full article here.   

There is a slideshow of drawings by kids of Obama associated with the article.  I especially like this one.  I think the expression in the eyes that this child captured is genius.

karina-aldina-8by Karina Aldana, age 8

And look out for the upcoming book:

Jory John, program director at 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center, is the editor of the forthcoming “Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: A Collection of Kids’ Letters to President Obama,” from which some of these letters are drawn.


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