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The 35-year-old former first daughter of President Bill Clinton and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton explained what motivated her to effect change in the world while also taking students' questions about everything from her life at the White House to her Secret Service detail to how many of her childhood friends she still connects with. (Two friends named Elizabeth are very important to her, she says!)
Chelsea said she wanted to empower students to ask questions and make their own changes in the world, while revealing what prompted her in early childhood to take action. Newspapers, it turns out, played a significant role.
"I could actually access what was happening and develop my own thoughts, my own opinions, my own ideas about what we should be doing to make our communities safer and healthier, our world safer and healthier and happier," she said.
When one 6th-grader asked Chelsea which cause she is most passionate about, the mother of one said, "I am still a relatively new mom. I have a daughter named Charlotte; she just turned 1. And being a mother now of a daughter, I care even more intensely about gaining equal rights and opportunities for girls and women here in the United States and around the world than I did before, and I didn't know that was possible."
The Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative board member spoke directly to kids at this leg of her book tour primarily to reach her target audience — her book is written for children ages 10-14.
In addition to asking Chelsea about the causes she supports, which also include providing communities with clean water, the kids also wanted to know what it was like to be the child of a president and what it was like to live in the White House and have Secret Service agents constantly in your life.
As far as living in the White House, Chelsea said it "was both extraordinary and normal."
"I tried to never forget what a privilege it was to be living in history every day," she added. "It also was pretty normal. We had dinner together every night when my parents weren't traveling. My parents still made sure that I went to bed on time and I didn't stay up too late."
Chelsea also revealed that living her young life among Secret Service agents until shortly after graduating from Stanford University wasn't particularly difficult.
"They were there to do a job," she said. "They were there to protect me so that my father could do his job, and I understood that and respected that they had a job to do, and the job they had to do was really important, and I never wanted to make it more challenging for them."
Chelsea also said that she was grateful because the agents who were on her detail were also parents.
"They were either parents, so they were used to being around kids and they knew how to talk to kids, or who had done a lot of work with kids," she said, "so I think that really helped my transition."