International Children Crusade

Invitation to the White House

Popular demand kept the quilt on display at the historic Clearwater Bank Building for several months but word of the project soon spread, leading to an invitation to present the tapestry at the White House.

On May 28, 1996, Bennish, Friedman, a delegation of a dozen foster children and other key members of the project visited the White House, where the quilt was displayed in the Green Room. The event included a special presentation to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge her for her efforts on behalf of assisting youth. Commenting that the quilt was the most beautiful tapestry she had ever seen, Mrs. Clinton signed the Hands of Hope Pledge.

Clearwater Scientology artists and special presentation to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

After leaving the White House, the tapestry became the focal point of a number of other significant international events, including the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in St. Petersburg on December 10th, 1998. The quilt traveled as far as to Cairn, Australia to a special event which focused on the plight of abandoned, abused and neglected children.

When the First Lady of Kazakhstan heard of the quilt, she contacted Bennish and asked if a similar quilt could be created for her country. Bennish subsequently renewed her commitment to helping with the launch of her new campaign, before traveling to Kazakhstan to speak.

“Children are our bright hope for the future,” said Bennish, “and when children are threatened, that promise is also threatened. If we can learn to treat them with love and respect, they will become bright, responsible and more capable future leaders.”

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