"The Web of Dreams gives children a voice and a way to participate in the inauguration,"
Since Indianapolis was the last stop on Obama's campaign trail on election day, a school in that city was chosen as the Honorary First School in the Web of Dreams. St. Monica School serves a diversity of students from kindergarten to grade 8. Its theme this year is "Teamwork Makes The Dream Work." Inspired by her school's theme, 11-year-old student Sophia VanderKooy says, "My dream for America is that we all work together to make our country a better place to live."
To participate in the Web of Dreams, young people decorate Dream Stars with their dreams for themselves and America. The Dream Stars are being displayed for the inauguration in schools and homes from coast-to-coast to inspire everyone who sees them -- other young people, as well as teachers and parents. They submit their total number of stars on the Legacy Project website along with a message for Obama.
The eight- and nine-year-old students at J. Stanley Sullivan School in North Adams, MA acknowledge that Obama has "a lot of work ahead of you because our country is in a sad state of affairs." Students at Hilldale School in Daly City, CA dream of a "clean environment to help us and the Earth." The nine- to thirteen-year-
The Legacy Project also has free online activities with dozens of ideas to help children understand the significance of the inauguration, and to encourage them to set and achieve their own personal and community goals. In Club of Dreamers, children choose a historical hero, perhaps someone like Abraham Lincoln (the bicentennial of his birth happens to fall on February 12). The Power of Words has them engage with the words that have changed the world, from Gandhi to King to Obama. And One Thing helps them explore the one thing they can do, whatever that may be for them, to make a difference in their own life and their community.
Many of the activities are inspired by Bosak's bestselling book "Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes," which is illustrated by 15 top children's illustrators and has won 11 national awards, including a Children's Choice and a Teachers' Choice. The book is about achieving hopes and dreams across a lifetime.
"For me, this story begins almost three years ago, at an education conference in Chicago," says Bosak. "Two teachers rushed up to me excited about using my book with their students. They also said that they needed another copy for someone else. They were volunteering on a campaign, they explained. They were helping this man. He was going to be the next President of the United States. They asked me to sign a copy of 'Dream' for him. When they told me his name, I asked them to spell it -- slowly. It was an unusual name. And then I wrote the inscription using a line from the last page in the book: To Barack Obama, Be a Dreamer."
In the context of Bosak's book, a Dreamer is someone like Albert Einstein or Martin Luther King, Jr., someone who has the determination and courage to make a difference.
"Every child should have dreams and goals -- and the confidence and opportunity to pursue them. This is a way for parents and teachers to encourage children and help them become involved citizens in the future," says Bosak.
For more information on participating in the Web of Dreams, the free online activities, and to read the dreams of kids across the country, visit www.legacyproject.org.