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The Obamas Return Home to Support Chicago’s Youth


October 18, 2022

This week, President and Mrs. Obama returned home for a series of events on the South and West Side of Chicago, to talk directly with community members about the importance of youth leadership and how the Obama Foundation is empowering people in underserved communities. Check out the highlights below!

President Obama shakes hands with a seated young person with medium skin and an excited expression. A crowd of young people with various skin tones watches.
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President Obama joins an Obama Foundation youth event for a panel conversation moderated by Chicago influencer and entrepreneur Don C, with Ayo Dosunmu, a 22-year-old point guard for the Chicago Bulls, Adeeb Borden, Foundation and Executive Director of Black Youth Leadership 21, and Aniya Hill, President of the Peace Warriors at North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

The two-day trip was an inspiring one! At 167 Green Street, President Obama surprised over 60 Chicago high school students for a day of activities and conversation. In collaboration with local businesses and support from Nike, students had the opportunity to engage in a wide range of activities – from yoga and meditation to art therapy and even a hair product creation tutorial.

As part of our My Brother’s Keeper Alliance initiative, Freedom Summer 2022, the President participated in a panel conversation with Chicago Bulls player, Ayo Dosunmo, Chicago Bulls Creative Strategy and Design Advisor, Don C., and Chicago high school students about their experiences, as well as the importance of utilizing community resources and organizations, like the Obama Foundation, to find their purpose.

President Obama also moderated a panel discussion with leaders from McDonald’s and Prudential, for an audience of small business owners and Chicago business leaders to discuss how small businesses and large corporations can work together to invest in economic growth for the South and West sides.

President Obama sits on stage holding a microphone and looking right at four people of varying skin tones and clothing, also seated.
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President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

On the South Side, Mrs. Obama surprised students at Hyde Park Academy High School to formally kick off the Obama Foundation Futures Series for the 2022-23 school year. The Futures Series brings in speakers to expose students to the stories, experiences, and insights of leaders across a wide range of industries and paths in an effort to deepen their understanding of the various career pathways they could take upon graduation.

Mrs. Obama spent most of the hour-long conversation answering questions submitted by students around hardships, success, and finding one’s purpose. She also sat down with 10 girls from the Working on Womanhood (WOW) program, a year-long group counseling and clinical mentoring program for middle and high school girls, for an intimate discussion centered around their well being and developing a healthy sense of self.

Young people fill a large auditorium. Mrs. Obama sits in a light gray chair next to two young women, also seated.
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Mrs. Obama hosts her second Future Series conversation with students at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

“It’s been incredible to see the impact our programming has started to make on the lives of our young people – from the work with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and the Girls Opportunity Alliance to the Futures Series,” said Obama Foundation CEO Valerie Jarrett. “A part of our work at the Obama Foundation is to empower young people in underserved communities and increase their access to opportunities. It’s the kind of programming we will bring to the Obama Presidential Center when it opens in 2025.”

Below you can check out highlights from other recent visits the Obamas have made to Chicago: