First lady, Michelle Obama urges teens to give back

From Huffington Post:


The First Lady made her first solo trip into the neighborhood. She visited Mary’s Center a community health organization in Adam’s Morgan. The most interesting part of the visit came in the last fifteen minutes of the nearly hour-long visit. She sat with a group of 9 teenagers ages 16-18 who attend after-school programs at the center. A transcript will be available, but here’s the best part. It came in response to the fifth and final question from one of the students who asked: “Why did you want to come out and meet us?”

“This is the best part of my day, short of being with my own kids. I was raised to believe that when you get you give back…We’ve been visitors but now we live here. This is our community now. We were taught you have to get to know your community you’re in, and you have to be a part of that community and you have to get to know it in order to be actively engaged in it. D.C. is our community now and it’s our home. Barack is real busy right now so I figured I’ve got the time on my hands and while the kids are in school, I figured I would come out and hear about programs and meet students.” She described all of this as if the man she called Barack were an ambitious accountant, not the man who on the previous evening had given the prime time press conference amid the fancy chandeliers.

“I was somewhat where you are. I didn’t come to this position with a lot of wealth and a lot of resources. I think it’s real important for young kids, particularly kids who come form communities without resources to see me. Not the First Lady but to see that there is no magic to me sitting here. There are no miracles that happen. There is no magic dust that was sprinkled on my head or Barack’s head. We were kids much like you who figured out one day that our fate was in our own hands. We made decisions to listen to our parents and work hard, and work even harder when somebody doubted us. When somebody told me I couldn’t do something, that gave me a greater challenge to prove them wrong. …Every little challenge like that and every little success I gained more confidence and life just sort of opened up. So I feel like it’s an obligation for me to share that with you.”

Before leaving, the First Lady posed for photographs and signed a poster for the center. She turned to the kids and said “Always think about where you came from and what you’re going to give back.” The kids, who were a slightly quiet bunch, didn’t immediately respond. “Sound right?” She asked them. They all then said yes.

Classy and generous. It’s good to see the first lady hasn’t forgotten where she came from.


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