First Lady Donna Edwards is impacting the lives of thousands of Louisiana children, but her passion for children started long before moving to the mansion.
From the beginning, First Lady Donna Edwards knew she had a calling.
“I think as a teacher in the classroom you always feel like you’re making a difference in someone’s life,” said Edwards.
Her passion for children became clear while teaching music.
“I remember being in the classroom and the children that I taught, and hoping and praying that the words that I chose that day or the things of encouragement that I said to that child would make a difference in their life.”
In the classroom, Edwards saw firsthand the battles many children fight in silence.
“Believe it or not there are children that go hungry. It’s unbelievable, in 2019 that the numbers are as high as they are. 1 in 4 in Louisiana,” said Edwards.
After witnessing these heartbreaking stories, she made it her mission to give those in need a voice.
“I was just taken aback. I was like this can not be, the people of Louisiana, we have to step up and do better, and we have.”
Governor John Bel Edwards was elected in 2015 giving the First Lady a platform to advocate for young children.
“I look at it more as an opportunity to really be a voice for someone who can’t or doesn’t have that voice. We’re honored to be in this position and take it serious and see every day as an opportunity to serve others and make a difference in peoples lives.”
Since becoming First Lady of Louisiana, Edwards has successfully implemented the ‘No Kid Hungry Breakfast Challenge’ and ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ for both elementary and high school students.
She’s also making strides in the foster care system.
“You know, I had discussions with so many of these young people, I mean bright, young people that I came to learn were homeless. They were waiting till the fall, so they could register for a community college or wherever they could go to possibly have a room in a dorm or something. We’ve still got a lot of room to grow and a lot of things to work on in the foster care program, and we’re doing it. We’re doing it with everybody, the whole team.”
Edwards said her platform opened her eyes to a new issue that so many over look.
“In regard to children aging out of the foster care program, unfortunately there are some children that get lured into a life that’s not so great, which lead me into human trafficking. I knew nothing before becoming First Lady about human trafficking. As I’ve learned more and I got involved with that.”
Edwards said she hopes to continue to use her voice to better the lives of Louisianians.
“I am who I am and same as my husband. We just do our best every day. It’s incredible. It’s actually very humbling when you realize that you’re making a difference in others people’s lives and you see it, and they tell you every day, thank you.”
First Lady Edwards also launched a blog called ‘Loving Louisiana’ back in November. On her blog you can keep up with all of her initiatives and see stories of Louisiana women doing great things in their communities.
You can view her blog here.