Dear Mr. President ...

As you can imagine, President Obama gets thousands of letters every day. Aides go through them all and select 10 for the president to read personally. So the odds of getting a letter into Mr. Obama's hands are pretty slim -- but as CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports, some lucky kids have found a way to beat those odds.


Eight-year-old Lucy O'Brien loves to draw.

"I'm not bragging about it, but I think I'm good at drawing," Lucy says.

She also knows times are hard at dad Gerard's fine antiques business.

"My mom and dad usually talk about it," Lucy says. "I'm sort of nosey when I listen to them talk about it."

So when her mother told her about a "Dear Mr. President" contest, in which the lucky winners' art and letters would be presented to President Obama, she poured her heart into it.

Lucy explains, "I added like confetti and stuff like that and then I added "hope" on the top to show for the future that there's hope for maybe the economy or something - hope for the future."

She sent it off to Larry Hitchcock's Web site, kidthing.

Hitchcock says kids ages 5 to 12 all over the country sent kid's stuff, such as, "a six-year-old who just wants the president to make it rain candy."

And serious stuff, such as one who wrote, "poor people should have food."

Almost 5,000 kids participated.

"Dear President Obama," 8-year-old Carlo Santiago wrote. "On inauguration day I was at the hospital …"

Carlo feels good these days. He's fighting a rare form of cancer. In his message to the president he wrote: "When I'm done with all my treatment, I want to go see you in the White House on my birthday.

The best 150 entries were put in a book to be hand delivered to President Obama.

Kidthing's Hitchcock says, "There's a theme through all of it of hope and kind of belief that tomorrow's going to be a better day.

Carlo's letter made it.

Lucy's did too.

She says, "I was jumping up and down and I was screaming and I ran into my brother's room and i was like, 'I made it into the book!' and he was like 'good for you'."

It's a book full of young hopes and dreams.


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  • Bill Whitaker

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