She is Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former U.S. President George W. and first lady Laura Bush, who serves as chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, an initiative dedicated to reducing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the world.
The young humanitarian also is a successful author, having written of her UNICEF travels throughout Latin America and the Caribbean where she experienced firsthand the plight of the underprivileged. One of those personal encounters came with a 17-year-old single mother living with HIV who was determined to shield her child from the abuse and neglect that riddled her own childhood.
Hager’s account became a New York Times bestseller titled, “Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope.” In it, she shares some of her own stories of bringing change in the lives of others where hope is a forgotten word and hopelessness is an ongoing way of life.
The dedicated civic servant and talented communicator takes her uplifting messages to even wider audiences as a contributing correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show” where she has shared powerful and positive accounts of ordinary people who perform extraordinary feats. Passionate about literacy, education and improving public awareness of the challenges facing inner-city schools, Hager herself was a teacher in Baltimore.
In addition to “Ana’s Story,” the inspiring speaker co-wrote “Read All About It!” with her like-minded and warmhearted mother.
Hager will speak to a sold-out audience at the annual “Empowering Women” fundraiser to begin at 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Country Club. As its supporters already know, “Empowering Women” carries a myriad of endearing messages and people causes.
First, “Empowering Women” is a critical fundraiser for one of our community’s most worthwhile causes, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Second, “Empowering Women” seeks to honor some of our hometown’s most outstanding women — those whose work in the professional and civic arenas has served to energize Cleveland and Bradley County, and the women of all ages who call it home.
Third, “Empowering Women” yearns to spread a message, one that points to the need for young women to have strong female role models. Parents need to look only as far as two recent dinners to understand the level of commitment of this cause. The fundraiser’s keynote speaker last year was legendary Hollywood actress Jennifer O’Neill and in 2009 it was noted author Susan Gregg Gilmore.
Event chair and organizer Janey Cooke explains it best when she alludes to the power of having female role models within a community. It unveils potential in the eyes of young women, girls and all children.
“There are choices which can be made outside the realm of their own world just by being shown the possibilities,” Cooke told our newspaper. “We want to raise awareness by involving more women in our community to show not just girls, but all children, that good role models are an important priority.”
It is a critical fact of life.
Young people can become visionaries when they identify goals; and often such goals find their origin as dreams that evolve from the influence of others. These “others” are the role models whose outreach is empowered by extraordinary events like “Empowering Women.”
Thursday’s fundraiser sold out quickly for good reason — our young people, and most notably our young girls.
We welcome Jenna Bush Hager to “The City With Spirit,” a hometown community well-versed in the power of hope.
We wish for you a safe journey to our city.
We invite your quick return.