Former first lady of the United States Laura Bush thanked Rotarians for their commitment to giving back to their communities during the Rotary Convention in Toronto. She also stressed the importance of education in shaping a child’s life.
Bush, an advocate for literacy, education, and women’s rights, spoke about her years as a teacher at an inner city school in Houston, Texas, USA. She said that reading was not just a cause she supported as first lady, but one of the guiding passions of her life.
The wife of former U.S. President George W. Bush (2001-09), Laura Bush has advocated on key national and global issues and launched groundbreaking education and health care programs in the U.S. and abroad. She founded both the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., USA. The National Book Festival continues to attract more than 120,000 attendees each year.
Bush said the needs of young people are a problem all over the world, where children lack even the very basics of food, shelter, love, and safety.
Bush’s remarks resonated with Rotarians. Many Rotary service projects promote early childhood reading or work to increase literacy rates. A breakout session later in the day, for example, discussed success stories from the Guatemala Literacy Project, a 20-year partnership between Rotarians in Maine, USA, and an educational cooperative in Guatemala. It trains teachers in dynamic teaching methods that engage their students.
Bush challenged her audience to devote themselves to a life of service to others, for this “can make all the difference in the world.”