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Laura Bush Applauds Teens' Iraq Initiatives

First lady Laura Bush (search) on Friday applauded teenagers for reaching out to the children of Iraq and to their own communities.

"You're turning youthful idealism into practical ideas," she told nearly a thousand teens and adult organizers from around the country at the fourth National Youth Summit (search).

Summit participants donated 70 large boxes of art supplies for Iraqi schools, a project Bush described as "a heartfelt act of solidarity with the young people of Iraq."

The State Department sponsored six Iraqi summit participants, including Iraqi minister of youth and sport, Talib Zaini, and two Iraqi young people.

The first lady also emphasized U.S.-based youth programs.

"Across America, people are turning good ideas into programs that help America's youth," Bush said, specifically applauding several programs like Think Detroit, which aims to teach life lessons and character development through sports.

Bush also mentioned a program started by the governor of Florida (search) — "who I happen to know," she said of her brother-in-law — where high school students mentor third-graders in reading.

"Many young people in America want to act on their idealism," Bush said. "The young leaders here today show their peers how to serve a cause greater than themselves."

Participants came individually and as delegations from federal and private youth organizations. The summit was hosted by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor for young people active in their communities and the adults that encourage them.