As we continue to navigate unprecedented times, we can still find reasons for hope. We’ve gathered stories of people from every corner of the globe who are taking care of their communities, from providing resources to finding vaccine appointments. Our team will continue to add to this steady stream of global hope, but we'd like your help. Tell us about the stories—big and small—that are still lifting your spirits here. Opens in a new tab
This 13-Year-Old’s Website Is Helping People Across Chicago Snag Vaccine Appointments
An Evanston teenager created a bilingual website to help Illinois residents book a vaccine appointment for themselves or their loved ones. Read more on Block Club Chicago + Opens in a new tab
Are Vaccines Safe?
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them.” If you or someone you know has questions about the efficacy and safety of vaccines, you can find more information here Opens in a new tab .
More Than 1,000 People Line Up For Community-Led Vaccination Effort In Little Village: ‘A Very Important Moment’
The pop-up vaccinated 1,000 Little Village residents Sunday. It was held at a community location in hopes of eliminating barriers, organizers said. Read more on Block Club Chicago + Opens in a new tab
In neighborhoods across Chicago, from Pilsen to Jackson Park to Austin, see how our neighbors are stepping up to care for their communities and giving them strength to weather the public health crisis.
Yo-Yo Ma gives surprise performance after receiving COVID-19 vaccine
A few Massachusetts residents who received a COVID-19 vaccination over the weekend also got a little extra with their shots — a mini-concert played by one of the world’s most famous cellists. Read more from USA Today + Opens in a new tab
Watch President and Mrs. Obama read The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds for Chicago Public Library's "Live from the Library" series.
Obama Foundation Africa Leader Receives $725,000 in Funding for COVID-19 Relief
Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya founded Kakenya’s Dream to empower her rural Kenyan community by educating girls and ending harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Her organization was recently awarded a $725,000 grant through Jack Dorsey’s Start Small initiative to fund their COVID-19 relief efforts and to build a youth-friendly health clinic in Enoosaen. Learn more about Kakenya’s Dream + Opens in a new tab
After a stranger helped her dad score a vaccine, here's how she's paying it forward
“It doesn’t feel right that somebody has to be spending so much time and so much effort trying to get a vaccine. The people that I help, they don’t have the luxury to stay at home and look.” —Vivi Zayas, CNN Opens in a new tab
When Jaton had to shift his after-school programming to be fully virtual, he reached out to Alfonso for help. Together, the leaders created AHA! Eskwelang Pamilya—a free and accessible online program featuring daily lessons and COVID-19 resources and information for students and their families. By joining forces with Alfonso, Jaton has doubled the number of children he now serves.
Chicagoan Ibraheem Alinur is the founder of City Health Tech, a startup focused on improving community health and preventing the spread of disease in communities. In response to COVID-19, Ibraheem has piloted his handwashing device at essential workplaces. The automated device triggers a series of animations that encourages better and longer handwashing times.
Community leaders from across Chicago got together virtually to share how they are supporting their neighbors during this challenging time. President Obama dropped in to say thank you.
President and Mrs. Obama dropped by a Chicago Public Schools Student Civics Town Hall where they discussed how the Chicago Public Schools community can stay connected, engaged in civic life, and build a sense of belonging even while living apart.
On National Teachers’ Day, President Obama called a few Chicago Public Schools teachers to thank them for their dedication and hard work keeping their students on track in a remote classroom environment.
“Know you’re doing the kind of work that makes communities stronger and makes the world a better place.” President Obama spoke with the Greater Chicago Food Depository's team to hear how they’ve stepped up during this crisis, and to thank them for it. If you're able, you can donate here + Opens in a new tab
Watch President Obama discuss the importance of MBK Alliance's work across the United States.
Five-year-old Chicagoan Launches "Keep Away Corona" Podcast
Albie, a five-year-old Chicagoan who recently launched the Keep Away Corona podcast with some help from his dad. Albie talks to friends and family about the coronavirus and even sings the show’s theme song. Listen to Albie’s podcast now + Opens in a new tab
President Obama joined 30 Obama Scholars from the University of Chicago and Columbia University for a conversation about how they are uniquely positioned to drive change in the world as it recovers from COVID-19.
Former First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush applauded the courage of essential workers during the One World: Together At Home concert on April 18.
Asia-Pacific Leader Swietenia Puspa Lestari is the Executive Director of Divers Clean Action, a youth-led organization based in Indonesia that focuses on marine debris cleanup. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Divers Clean Action started researching the rise in waste and developing strategies to help combat it.
Download Some Hope
One of our Obama Scholars, Pavel Kounchev, co-founded Fine Acts—a playground for social change. In response to the pandemic, they launched Spring of Hope online, where they are sharing new uplifting illustrations on their website every day until the end of May. Download your own today + Opens in a new tab
Christian Vanizette is the co-founder of Makesense.org, an international organization based in France that focuses on how social entrepreneurs can use technology to solve social and environmental issues. When COVID-19 began to spread, he shifted the entire focus of his organization to virtual community organizing.
Obama Leader Addresses Inequalities Exacerbated by COVID-19 in Hawai‘i
Asia-Pacific Leader Kealoha Fox is working with the ACLU on their Campaign for Smart Justice, which is helping state offices ensure everyone’s health, safety and civil liberties are prioritized and protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also participated in a webinar where she spoke at length about about racial justice and health equity to address the over-incarceration of Native Hawaiians and Women in Hawai‘i. Watch the webinar + Opens in a new tab
Around the world, Obama Foundation leaders are stepping up to meet this moment, helping their communities weather the COVID-19 crisis. In Malaysia, Obama Foundation, Leader Rashvin Pal Singh and his team are making face shields for frontline workers. In Paraguay, Obama Foundation Scholar, Gabriella Galilea is collaborating with others to create an open source app for self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms, and in Los Angeles, Obama Foundation Fellow, Harry Grammer and his organization, New Earth, are continuing to provide connectivity and basic necessities to community members who are in need.
John Leong is the CEO of Kupu, an organization that provides hands-on environmental and sustainability service learning to youth in Hawai'i. When organizational events were cancelled as a result of COVID-19, John and his team repurposed some of the food to create meals for those most impacted by the crisis.
Children’s Story Book Released to Help Children and Young People Cope with COVID-19
A new story book that aims to help children understand and come to terms with COVID-19 has been produced by a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector… Read the full World Health Organization feature and download the book + Opens in a new tab
Obama Scholar Shifts Entire Organization to Focus on Virtual Community Organizing
Current Obama Scholar Christian Vanizette runs Makesense.org in France. Since the pandemic began, he has shifted the entire focus of his organization to virtual community organization and the development of a new platform to share best practices around the COVID-19 response, particularly for healthcare professionals. Explore his work + Opens in a new tab
Local Chicago Organization Responds With Love in Time of Doubt
I Grow Chicago is doing what they do best at a time when it is most needed: Showing up for their neighbors, one meal, one call, one care package at a time. In just a few weeks, the organization has provided 150 hot meals to neighbors, picked up and delivered 50 children’s meals from Chicago Public Schools for their after school families that can’t drive, and delivered 250 educational flyers with information about the virus to households with limited Internet access. Learn more about their work + Opens in a new tab
I am a Social Worker. I am so proud of my fellow colleagues who are providing mental health services to all their clients even without the expectation of being paid. We refer to ourselves as the silent first responders. We are here.
Mary L., Chicago, IL
Obama Fellow Alex Smith Wants You to Call Your Neighbor
2018 Obama Fellow Alex Smith and his organization, The Cares Family, fight loneliness and polarization in the UK by connecting seniors and young professionals to build new and lasting relationships. Alex penned an op-ed chock-full of creative ways to combat loneliness and help your older neighbors during this trying time. Check it out + Opens in a new tab
Obama Fellow Builds Culture Through Screens
2018 Obama Fellow Erin Barnes is doing her part, too. At ioby, she and her team are implementing new ways to adjust to this new work reality, including a wide array of BBQ-related emojis and “bursty communications” on the messaging platform Slack. See all of her fun tips here + Opens in a new tab
Chicago Organization My Block My Hood My City Provides Seniors with Coronavirus Prevention Supplies
CHICAGO — As stores struggle to keep enough hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on their shelves, a South Side advocacy group is working to get these items in the hands of Chicago seniors and people with disabilities to help them as coronavirus spreads. Read the full article + Opens in a new tab
Take a closer look at the organization providing Coronavirus prevention supplies to seniors in Chicago.
Do Your Part
Many of you are already doing so much to keep your families, loved ones, and communities healthy, but if you're able, you can find ways to support others in need by donating to an organization near you.