For Chelsea Clinton, the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy was the perfect place to talk about her new book.
“(The school) clearly captures so much of what I believe – that women can and should be leaders,” said Clinton, who visited the Raleigh school Thursday to promote “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!”
Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, released the book in September. It tells stories of young people who made changes in their families, communities and schools across the world and includes the story of a Raleigh boy who earned the nickname “The Food Drive Kid.”
Clinton, 35, shared some of the stories with students at the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, an all-girls early college that focuses on leadership skills. She will sign copies of the book at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh on Thursday evening.
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The book’s message speaks directly to the mission of the academy, said school librarian Debbie Dupree, who helped organize the event.
“This is so much of what we promote to our girls,” Dupree said. “It encourages girls to take a stand ... especially as women.”
Clinton told students in grades six through 12 the most important aspect of being a leader is to simply try.
“I’ve always believed it’s better to get caught trying,” she said. “It’s always better to ask. It’s particularly important for young women because we’re often told, ‘No.’ ”
Clinton is a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University in New York City and is the vice chairwoman of her family’s nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation. Although she said she supports her mother’s presidential campaign, she hasn’t been traveling with her and didn’t talk politics during her presentation Thursday morning.
But “It’s Your World” tackles some political issues, including environmental concerns, poverty, gender equality and hunger.
The story of William Winslow, a 9-year-old from Raleigh, is part of the book’s focus on hunger. William hosted his first food drive two years ago in his neighborhood. This year, he hosted a food drive at 10 grocery stores across Wake County, enlisting help from 164 volunteers.
The effort raised $11,000 and collected 9,000 pounds of food for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
“He raised so many more times the money and the food that he even hoped he would because of his own courage to ask and unwillingness to take no for an answer,” Clinton said in an interview. “He kept doing this work, and so I find that really inspiring too.”
William said he wanted to help after learning about Backpack Buddies at his school, Combs Elementary. The program provides backpacks filled with food to students in need on weekends and during school breaks.
“It wasn’t really a happy feeling,” William said of learning about peers going without food. “It was kind of sad.”
Although he was excited to be featured in Clinton’s book, William didn’t focus on the possibility of fame.
“His first comment was that it might help him get more donations,” said Blythe Clifford, William’s mother.