- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Revolutionary patriot John Hancock was born 272 years ago, but his handwritten

legacy is inspiring America’s youth to put pen to paper for the newly inaugurated president.

In honor of Hancock’s birthday, educational publisher Handwriting Without Tears launched its Mail to the Chief program to underscore the importance of civic awareness and self-expression in children.

“Many children have chosen to add drawings of the Obama family, the world and themselves, and the combination of their handwriting with these drawings allows each child to come alive through their letter,” says Jan Z. Olsen, founder of Handwriting Without Tears. “In reading their thoughts, you can see the care that each child took forming letters and shaping words to convey their hopes, which adds greater personality, sincerity and individuality.”

The group has received some 34,000 letters from all 50 states and several other countries. The content of the letters runs the gamut from humorous to poignant:

Jessie, from Virginia, advises the president, “Don’t wear holey jeans to work.”

Samuel of Maryland says in his letter, “You have inspired me to join the Peace Corps when I grow up.”

“Make school for an hour,” admonishes Nikita from New Jersey.

Tara DiMilia, a spokeswoman for Handwriting Without Tears, says she expects the organization to deliver the letters to the White House on Friday, which marks the celebration of Hancock’s birthday and National Handwriting Day.

They’re prepared

More than 600 Boy Scouts from the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) were on hand Tuesday helping natives and out-of-towners alike navigate the Inauguration Day crowds. Besides being stationed across the Mall where they handed out flags and gave directions, another group of Scouts lent a hand at RFK Stadium, helping direct parking for the estimated 10,000 charter buses that were expected.

“Our council is proud and privileged to be an integral part of this celebrated inauguration,” says Alan Lambert, NCAC Scout executive. “We are honored to be of service - it’s what we do as Scouts.”

The NCAC is the second-largest Boy Scout Council in America, representing the District and 16 counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia.


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