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Those of you who know me, you know that I like politics. I’ve always loved politics – even from a young age.
My first political memory was the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George HW Bush on January 20, 1981. I was 8 years old.
And that was just the beginning for me. I have dozens of memories from my elementary school year. Featuring a powerful speech by then-President Reagan, many of which are reminiscent of the above. But it wasn’t until President George HW Bush took office that these memories began to have a big impact on me.
Growing up in the West, I learned about the blessings of freedom, self-reliance, patriotism and independence. It made me realize how special America is, reminding me to live with gratitude. And I’ve always felt that President Bush understood that.
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Every time he spoke, I listened. His words were gentle and strong. Kind and strong.
President Bush first used the term “point of light” during his soon-to-be-famous acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention.
Vice President Bush took the opportunity to praise American clubs and voluntary organizations, comparing them to “bright diversity scattered like stars, like a thousand points of light in a wide and calm sky.”
It was a moment of unity and inspiration.
He also echoed the metaphor in his conclusion, “Keep America ahead, always ahead – for a better America, for an endless dream and a thousand points of light.”
That speech will follow him for the rest of his life.
From the campaign trail to the Oval Office, President Bush’s “Thousand Point Light” became his signature phrase. It reflects his unwavering commitment to community and volunteerism. It celebrated the timeless virtues of responsibility, sacrifice and patriotism. And it encourages Americans to do their work.
While in office, President Bush presented the “Daily Point of Light Award” to everyday Americans who made a difference in their communities. It was a great tradition, and it helped to recognize goodness in America. At the end of his four-year term, he officially recognized more than 1,000 individuals for the distinction.
But he did not stop there. His work continues as President through the establishment of the Point of Light Foundation একটি a global, independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to encouraging and empowering the spirit of service.
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The challenges facing our world today are far-reaching and complex. But the solutions to these problems also seem vague.
The Points of Light Foundation aims to help build a society where it is easier for us to take action. No matter how small, anyone can make an impact and change lives. Especially when your point of light acts as our cultural catalyst.
Third Annual George HW Bush Point of Light Awards Tuesday, September 2nd. The award ceremony was created a few years ago to celebrate the transformed power of the human soul and to honor the legacy of President George HW Bush.
Each year, the Points of Light Foundation recognizes four special individuals who imitate and erect a statue of President Bush each day of his life. In short, these are the people who are effectively changing the world.
I am proud to introduce one of the four winners of this year: Francine Lefrak.
For those of you who watch “The Five” you may be familiar with it when I mark its basis as my “One More Thing”.
Francine is one of the brightest points of light I know.
I met Francine through our mutual friend and member of the Light Foundation Board, Mary Unanu. Marie thought there would be many similarities between Francine and me. Marie hardly knew that she would introduce me to my new role model.
Francine has the desire to do whatever he wants at any time. And what she likes and wants to do is help others, especially women.
Francine’s work in Africa began decades ago – when he spent eight years in a documentary researching the devastating effects of the Rwandan genocide.
Deeply concerned about gender equality and women’s empowerment, and seeing these notable survivors rise to the top – Francine knew he needed to do more.
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Keeping in mind her long-standing love for art and beauty, Francine founded Sam Sky একটি a trade venture that employs Rwandan women to create stunning, feel-good jewelry pieces. And what began was that only a handful of artisans soon became a global mission – empowering women to change their lives through employment.
Francine believes that while talent is everywhere, there is no chance. He saw the talent of these resilient women, and wanted to shine a light on it.
Outside of Africa, Francine is also going to change conversations for women at home. Through job training programs and granting access to education, Sem Sky America seeks to empower previously imprisoned women in need of a second chance.
Francine is one of those people I am proud to call my friend. He is confident, direct and purpose-driven. He inspires me to give back and reminds me that serving others will help you learn more about who you really are.
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In Francine, I have found someone – and whose hand I can always hold.
I am grateful for the light that shines in my life. And in my heart I know that President Bush is grateful too.
Click here to learn more from Dana Perino