Obama’s legacy of empowering the young

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Sofia 9, letter to Mr. President. Courtesy of Time

The immediate former United States first family has contributed a lot to the improvement of education and the general aspirations of children. From the People Entertainment Network final interview with the Obama’s there’s a lot that they have contributed to change how kids relate to a sitting president.

  1. Making the White-house accessible to every American child. We have seen adorable photos online of children of all social backgrounds at the White-house. These children not only did the tours, they had one on one interaction with the president. Having teenage daughters was one of the contributing factors to his love for kids.
  2. Introducing programs that were against the grain to the otherwise rigid White-house program. For instance, having a girl scouts night camping on the White-house south lawn.
  3. If you have interacted with kids, one thing is sure. They have a lot of innocent questions. The Obamas showed great tact in answering questions from different children in a way that encouraged their inquisitive nature. One instance is during the People Entertainment Network interview. One funny question is whether they would have a big party before leaving the White-house, and whether they were invited. He answers that question in part by saying that the party will be past the young girl’s bedtime.
  4. Do you remember the letter to president Obama in 2015 from Sophia? The 9 year old wrote to ask the president why there were no women’s pictures on the American dollar bills. She went ahead and suggested a number of women who deserved to be on the dollar bills, among them being Michelle Obama and Rosa Parks. He replied to this letter by encouraging her that her suggestion was a great idea, and that she should keep focusing on school and in helping others in the things that mattered most to her. According to npr.org, the White-house receives about 700 letters daily, a portion of which are from kids. There is a book of kids’ letters to president Obama on Amazon.
  5. The former first family was instrumental in championing girls’ education globally. We saw Michelle Obama on the forefront of the Let girls Learn initiative, a multi-sectorial campaign that elevates existing programs and invests in new efforts to expand educational opportunities for girls.
  6. Prioritizing STEM education through projects like the White house Science Fair in 2010. 2016 saw the 6th White-house science fair, to get more girls and boys interested in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics education.
  7. Not forgetting the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) that has run for the past five years, and the YALI Central & East Africa regional center that aims to mentor future African leaders in Business, Civic leadership and Administration.

About the author

Juliet Otieno is the Brand and Social Media Lead at Eneza Education. She is trained in journalism and Public Relations and is a blogger who likes to play with words. This article has been cross posted.

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