Hillary Clinton is all about empowering kids to pursue their dreams.
Wisconsin mom and nurse, Kelsey Vandersteen, tweeted a letter that her friend’s 7-year-old daughter Lilly received from the Democratic nominee.
The letter was in response to a message that Lilly’s mom, Jennifer Rosen-Heinz, sent to Clinton’s campaign over the summer through the “Contact Us” form on the candidate’s website. Rosen-Heinz told The Huffington Post she was inspired to write to Clinton after her daughter announced one night at dinner that she’d like to change her name to “Lillary.”
When her parents asked why, the little girl responded, “So I can be a girl president.”
Rosen-Heinz said Lilly has been very engaged in hearing about the presidential election. “Since she’s taken SO MUCH pride in the fact that a ‘girl’ can become president, I felt like I needed to share her story with Hillary,” the mom said.
“In my message, I mentioned that as much as Hillary has given tirelessly her entire public life to making sure that women and children’s voices are heard, that she could know that she was not only making history, but she was leaving footprints that young girls like my daughter can easily read― a girl has been here. YOU can be here.”
In her response to Rosen-Heinz’ message, Clinton wrote that she was “touched” to learn about Lilly’s plans. However, she added, “I think Lilly is a great name ― and I hope you know that you don’t have to change it to become president; if you dream big, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.”
The presidential candidate encouraged Lilly to use her voice and speak her mind in school and then eventually the workforce.
“Proudly take credit for your ideas,” she wrote. “Have confidence in the value of your contributions. And if the space you’re in doesn’t have room for your voice, don’t be afraid to carve out a space of your own.”
“Don’t be discouraged,” Clinton concluded. “Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Don’t quit ― on yourself, on your dreams, on your future. You really can be anything you want to be. I may become the first woman president, but you, Lilly, could be next.”
Rosen-Heinz told HuffPost that Lilly was “really, really excited” to receive the letter from Clinton. “I think it was pretty unreal to her,” she said. “But you could see as she read the words, that she felt spoken to. Hillary wrote to her in a way that was both developmentally appropriate and eloquent.”
The mom said she believes the letter could have a much larger impact. “Seeing the effect those words had on my daughter, I knew that these words were for her, but not just for her. They were really for ALL girls (and boys) in this country. Our children should know that they are not bounded by their name, by their gender, by the color of their skin.”
Added Rosen-Heinz, “And all little girls can know that they, too, can find their own voices, speak out, and carve out room where there has never seemed to be room.