Bush honors N.C. youth program

Posted December 1, 2008 2:56 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2008 6:08 p.m. EST

— President George W. Bush is thanking North Carolina volunteers who have served as mentors to children of prisoners.

Bush met with a few children and their mentors in Greensboro on Tuesday. After meeting with them privately, Bush said the children have ambitions and goals.

“By helping a child you can help the country,” Bush said.

Bush visited the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Greensboro. It has worked with Youth Focus Inc., a nonprofit agency, to match 220 children of prisoners with adult mentors.

The program is part of a national initiative, championed by Bush, that has provided mentors to more than 110,000 children.

Executive director of Youth Focus Chuck Hodierne said Bush made the analogy that everyone has to play the hand they’re dealt with, but “it’s what you do with that hand that really matters.”

The White House used the stop to emphasize Bush's efforts to support community groups as partners in solving problems. Bush encouraged anyone hearing about the mentoring program to consider taking part in it.

Bush made a second stop to present the President's Volunteer Service Award to Donna Hudson Turner. Turner is a 25-year volunteer at Hospice of the Piedmont.

Turner was notified about the visit last week, but was asked, for security purposes, to keep it a secret from family and friends as they gathered for Thanksgiving. "I couldn't tell anyone until the press release came out," she said. "That was four days of misery ... excitement and misery."