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The Obamas Return Home to Support Chicago’s Youth

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 and Mrs. Obama return to Chicago

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.

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.

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A woman with deep skin, long hair, and a nice smile designs an of Air Force 1s. She has a thin black jacket on and a red shirt that says "girls" on it. At the table she is working at are a bunch of craft supplies. On her shoe reads "I am powerful, Mariah." Other people are doing similar crafts out of focus in the background.

The Obama Foundation hosts a youth event bringing together 60 students that are involved in youth-serving organizations across a number of Chicago Public Schools in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022. Please credit “The Obama Foundation.” The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation’s prior written consent.

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Two young men with deep skin tones, locks, and hoodies pour a liquid that appears to be soap into small bottles. The young man on the right is smiling and the one on the left has a black mask on but is very focused.

The Obama Foundation hosts a youth event bringing together 60 students that are involved in youth-serving organizations across a number of Chicago Public Schools in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022. Please credit “The Obama Foundation.” The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation’s prior written consent.

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President Obama leads a disscussion in a basketball gym full of young men and women sitting in comfy chairs. Four other people are seated in chairs in a row with President Obama. Above, to the left, and to the right of the panel is a projection sheet and two posters with the Obama Foundation logos on them.

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. Please credit “The Obama Foundation.” The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation’s prior written consent.

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A close up photo President Obama, three men, and one woman sitting in black chairs on a small stage. The four people have deep skin complextions and are using mics to talk with each other. There attire is a mix of business causal and casual.

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. Please credit “The Obama Foundation.” The photographs may not be manipulated in any way, and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by the Foundation, President Obama, or Mrs. Obama without the Foundation’s prior written consent.

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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.

President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

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President Obama wears a dark suit and stands on stage and speaks into microphone. Behind him are three seated individuals with varying skin tones wearing business attire.

President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

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Valerie Jarrett wears a blue jacket, stands on stage and speaks into a hand held microphone.

President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

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President Obama sits on stage holding a microphone and looking right at two people of varying skin tones and clothing, also seated.

President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

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President Obama sits on stage holding a microphone and looking right at four people of varying skin tones and clothing, also seated.

President Obama participates in an economic development panel discussion in Chicago, IL on October 18, 2022.

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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.

Mrs. Obama hosts her second Future Series conversation with students at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

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Young people fill a large auditorium. Mrs. Obama sits in a light gray chair next to two young women, also seated.

Mrs. Obama hosts her second Future Series conversation with students at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

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First Lady Michelle Obama stands amongst a group of young ladies with a variety o skin tones wearing royal blue shirts with white letters that spell "WOW Youth Guidance". The background has wooden doors and desks that are blurred out.

Mrs. Obama meets with members from WOW Youth Guidance program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

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Michelle Obama leads a circle group with a mix of young and older women of deep skin tones. Michelle Obama is wearing a green and brown themed business causal attire. The women in the group are wearing blue "Wow youth guidance" shirts and kahkis. Some of the girls, including Michelle Obama, spot the camera and start smiling and or pointing.

Mrs. Obama meets with members from WOW Youth Guidance program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

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A photo of Michelle Obama going around meeting a portion of a seated circle group of young women. Michelle Obama has long braids, lashes, a dark green jacket, lepord print top, and green free wide pants. She greets 3 young women of skin tones ranging from medium to medium-deep and long hair. The girls are wearing blue "Wow youth guidance" t-shirts, kahkis, and are all holding different colored small mirros. They turn in their chairs to say hi to Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama meets with members from WOW Youth Guidance program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, IL on October 17, 2022.

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“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:

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President Obama returns to his roots to support young leaders

President Obama joined with University of Chicago Scholars for a thoughtful conversation about their work and the issues that are impacting their work. He later dropped in to Hyde Park Academy on the South Side of Chicago for a Futures Series conversation!

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A Holiday Visit to Remember

To spread some holiday cheer, the Obamas stopped by the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital and met with community leaders making positive change. Then, President Obama shot hoops with young people at a local YMCA.

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