February 20, 2017 is the third anniversary of David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Foundation, an organization dedicated to restoring enthusiasm in American history — for kids, and adults!
David and I have been privileged to interview the historians at many of the nation’s preeminent presidential and historic homes, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon, President Lincoln’s Cottage, James and Dolley Madison’s Montpelier, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Then, last July 4, we took another step toward getting students excited about American history when we launched Grateful American™ Kids and started to feature kids as the stars of our videos. If you missed it, be sure to take a look at our first music video, “Grateful American™ Kids Rock,” featuring first, second, and third graders from The Steward School in Richmond, VA.
Last fall, fourth graders from another Richmond school, Sabot at Stony Point, helped bring Revolutionary Era painter Charles Willson Peale to life in the setting where several of his paintings are on display — at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
“Our goal is to have students teach students about what’s fascinating, fun, and fantastic about American history,” says Smith, an author and publisher based in Washington, DC, who writes and publishes books about figures in American history. “This year, we’ll be rolling out even more videos to inspire students and their families.”
Be on the lookout:
- This winter, students will be heading back to St. John’s Church to interview Patrick Henry about why he proclaimed, “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death.”
- The Grateful American™ team will be taking students to George Washington’s Mount Vernon to interview the nation’s first president and his first lady.
- Also at Mount Vernon, they’ll cook over a hearth with food historians to learn about how families prepared dishes popular in the 18th century. Plus, students will take us inside Washington’s famous distillery and gristmill to learn about the cutting-edge technologies used in the late 1700s to create beer, cider, and spirits.
- This spring, we will head to Brooklyn with students from New York to interview award-winning sculptor Ivan Schwartz, the artist whose company has given us life-size sculptures of George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James and Dolley Madison, as well as true-to-life creations of Lincoln’s horse, Old Bob, and more.
- Back in Washington, DC, students will interview award-winning historic children’s book author and illustrator Roz Schanzer, who writes about America’s greatest adventurers. Her hits include “John Smith Escapes Again!,” “How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning,” and “George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen From Both Sides.”
- And this June, we’ll visit the Students Opposing Slavery International Summit (SOS) at President Lincoln’s Cottage, in Washington. Started in 2013 by four teenagers who believed they had a responsibility to do what they could to end slavery in modern times, this annual summit is an award-winning youth education program for high school students dedicated to raising awareness about modern slavery in their communities.
And that’s just for starters!
Be sure to keep watching Grateful American™ TV for these exciting, kid-focused videos. And don’t miss an issue of Grateful American™ Magazine, your monthly news source that brings the Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers to life.
Scroll down to read our interview about the genesis of the Grateful American™ Foundation! — David Bruce Smith, founder, and Hope Katz Gibbs, executive producer