Willie Goes to Washington

Nov 04, 2008

One great idea can take on a life of its own, which is exactly what has happened to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s idea of bringing ordinary citizens from all over the globe together to communicate face to face, in an effort to solve differences and discover ways to live peacefully together on the planet. The People to People Ambassador Program was launched in 1956, setting in motion a vehicle wherein his mission of global citizenship did flourish.


Student Ambassador Programs have been in operation since 1963, giving thousands of young people the opportunity to travel to far away lands as representatives of their countries and exchange ideas and experiences with other cultures. It is a very meaningful way to develop respect for other ways of life and gain a wider world view.

Meet Willie Francis, a 14 year old wonder boy from Des Arc, Missouri. Willie is one of these fortunate Ambassadors who is no doubt carving indelible pathways of peace and goodwill wherever he goes. He has just returned from a 19-day adventure to Australia where he shared, among other things, his love of taking care of the folks at The Baptist Home in Ironton, MO. Willie began volunteering in 2002 after his great grandmother became a resident there, helping with bingo and special activities as well as helping the residents get to the beauty shop or chapel services. Willie said he “had a wonderful time on [his] trip to Australia and learned a great deal about the differences and similarities between the United States and them.”

Willie’s next Student Ambassador mission will take him to Washington D.C. where he has been invited to attend the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Willie’s itinerary is as follows: “I will fly from St. Louis to D.C. on my own. A People to People Delegation Manager will meet me in D.C. and my educational experience will begin! I will be present when our new President takes his Oath of Office. I will tour the White House, Washington Monument, Smithsonian, and even spend time in Congress with Kit Bond, Claire McCaskill, and Jo Ann Emerson.” Willie added, “I am amazed at this invitation! How exciting to be able to attend and be a part of a historical event!”

Our young Ambassador must raise his own tuition for this most excellent adventure to the tune of $2600, not including his flight. I say we see to it that Willie goes to Washington, don’t you agree? I wish I could go with him but I guess I’ll just have to settle for hearing all about it when he returns and writing another article to document his awesome exploits. If you would be interested in helping Willie raise the money needed to attend the Inauguration of the next President of the United States, make your check payable to People to People and mail it back to Willie so that he can register your gift and turn it in.

Willis Elvin Francis
HCR 68 Box 82 B
Des Arc, MO. 63636

Make a donation and we’ll send it to Willie for you (this is not tax deductible):

Just a thought: After this ridiculously protracted and often cantankerous election season, I’m thinking that Washington could use a fresh reminder of what People to People’s founder believed, “…that peaceful relations…require mutual respect between individuals.” Willie, you’re our man! Go get ‘em, son!