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5 Promises For America's Children

While Secretary Of State Colin Powell has been busy with the war in Iraq, his wife, Alma Powell, has been writing two children's books to support the work of "America's Promise", a non-profit organization that she co-chairs, dedicated to improving the lives of children. The books are titled, "America's Promise" and "My Little Wagon."

"We want the children to know that America is making a promise to them," Mrs. Powell said. And in one book, young children are introduced to Five Promises. She will talk about it on Wednesday's The Early Show.

Alma Powell writes, "Our mission is to mobilize people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of our nation's youth by fulfilling five promises for young people:

  1. Caring Adults in Every Child's Life
    Develop relationships with parents, tutors, mentors, coaches, and other adults with an interest in the child's well-being.
  2. A Safe Place After School
    Create locations with structured activities during non-school hours.
  3. A Healthy Start
    Provide good nutrition, protective immunizations, and sound dental care and hygiene.
  4. Marketable Skills
    Offer effective education and practical experiences for career development.
  5. Opportunities to Give Back. (Serve the community)
    Encourage community service - so that the cycle continues.

This is Alma Powell's first time writing books for children. When asked how she thought of the storyline, she said, "It was very easy. We simply wanted to illustrate the five promises." Then she thought of a story with diverse characters.

"America's Promise" is a relatively large picture book for children ages 4-7, grades Pre-S-2. It is about two young bears, Honey and her younger brother Benji, who have just moved into to a new neighborhood.

At the beginning of the story, their mother is starting a new job and is taking them to a day care center until she finds a baby sitter. The day care center is run by a rabbit, named Mrs. Mayberry, who turned her home into a place for children to go to because she doesn't think the streets are safe for them to play in.

At Mrs. Mayberry's Play and Learn House, they play with new friends and have healthy snacks. When Mayor Crawley visits, he surprises them with the news that a lot is going to be turned into a park for them to play in. The children ask to help and learn about the value of working as a group and being involved with the community.

In the other book, Mrs. Mayberry reads Benji a book titled, "My Little Wagon". The wagon in the book resembles the red wagon Benji takes everywhere he goes. "My Little Wagon" is a small companion board book for beginning readers, ages 2-6 or grades Pre-S-1.

"America's Promise - The Alliance for Youth " is a non-profit organization founded by Colin Powell in 1997 after a summit on volunteerism in Philadelphia. Its purpose is to improve the lives of the country's children and youth by ensuring that Five Promises are fulfilled in their lives.

The organization asks corporations to donate time in the form of mentors and money to help charities that provide services for them.

"We want the children to know that America is making a promise to them," Mrs. Powell said.

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