Empowering Chicago Youth Today for a Brighter Tomorrow
In 2021, when Mrs. Obama met with young people from Hyde Park Academy—the high school located right across the street from the site of the Obama Presidential Center—to talk about the students’ career aspirations and what they need to succeed, it sparked the idea for the Futures Series. The series was such a success that Mrs. Obama joined students again in 2022.
This ongoing collaboration with Hyde Park Academy brings speakers from all types of fields to share their career journeys with the students. The program speaks to our commitment to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world. And it’s initiatives like this that will be the core of our work at the future Center.
Speakers from the 2022-2023 school year included:
Dion Dawson, Dion’s Chicago Dream
Marty Nesbitt, The Vistra Group and Chairman of the Obama Foundation Board of Directors
Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen
Melvin Rodriguez, Mielle Organics
Muholi Zanele, Artist
Hebru Brantley, Artist
Dr. Selwyn O. Rogers, University of Chicago Medicine Trauma Center.
Local Lunchbox was originally founded in Chelsea, Massachusetts, by the Shah Family Foundation, an organization that supports transformative work in education, health care, and the community.
The program connects nonprofits, schools, and other community organizations that serve young people with local chefs to serve delicious, healthy, and culturally relevant meals to kids and teens 18 and under.
Together with our partners, we are proud to be the first organizations to bring the healthy food program to the city of Chicago, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2022, we served 75,000 meals to over 1,000 young people across the city.
We’re thankful to our partners who made our 2022 cycle a success:
After School Matters
Gary Comer Youth Center
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
Cajun Cafe Chicago
Latin Plate Catering
Obama Youth Jobs Corps
The Obama Youth Jobs Corps Opens in a new tab is yet another way we’re partnering with a standout organization, Urban Alliance, to help high school students prepare for a promising future. In the 2022-2023 school year, we welcomed six new interns to our offices.
And because learning always goes beyond the office or classroom, when Urban Alliance celebrated its 25th anniversary in October, Corps alumni Imani P. Muse and Austin Washington led a panel discussion with President Obama at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.