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'Emotional' Michelle Obama announces White House mentoring program for girls

By Robin Givhan
In her own version of "Pay It Forward," first lady Michelle Obama, who has often talked about the influence of role models in her life, announced a year-long mentoring program at the White House for area high school girls.

Monday afternoon, thirteen young women gathered around a polished wood table, austerely set with water glasses and blue folders, in the State Dining room for a get to know you conversation with the senior women from the White House staff who will serve as their mentors. That list includes a who's who of fancy titles and impressive resumes -- among them, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes, Obama's chief of staff Susan Sher and social secretary Desiree Rogers.

The germ of the idea was planted in March when Obama invited a star-studded array of women, ranging from entertainers to math geniuses, to fan out across the area and share their stories with students. At the end of the day, the women and a group of girls gathered at the White House for dinner. The first lady, in today's remarks, recalled that evening saying that "that was the best thing we've done so far." She wanted to replicate that experience on a larger scale.

The young women, who were selected by their principals, will not be traditional interns but will be tutored by their mentors on everything from careers and financial literacy to how to write a college essay and health and fitness.

Obama said she became interested in the power of mentoring as a corporate lawyer in Chicago. Her office, she said, was on the 47th floor of a downtown building and her windows faced south towards her old neighborhood. Kids who were just as smart and capable as she was missed out on opportunities and successes "by a hair," she said.

And then she got a bit verklempt. "We've got the most powerful seat in the land to be a bridge-builder," she told the girls, her eyes tearing and voice cracking. "And I'm so excited and touched and moved to have you all here.... I can get emotional."

A young men's program, rooted in the West Wing, will launch soon.

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 2, 2009; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Michelle Obama , Washington Life , White House  
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Comments

Very nice,simply shows that the first lady is not selfish to share tips on how to be a good role model like her. btw just read an article worth reading like this on the 24/7 Obama News site, the Lipman Times--quite good .. http://www.lipmantimes.com/?p=8267

Posted by: fozzy13 | November 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Very nice,simply shows that the first lady is not selfish to share tips on how to be a good role model like her. btw just read an article worth reading like this on the 24/7 Obama News site, the Lipman Times--quite good .. http://www.lipmantimes.com/

Posted by: fozzy13 | November 5, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The best way of teaching to the youth, the model to follow is to give testimony of the same one with live broadcast examples. The reality is the best school of life! In times where the web invades all the fields and where the youth is immersed in blogs, twitter, on facebook and other subjective fields, to show the reality is more than instructive. It is to be a participant of the American dream and to live through the contemporary history, in situ, with people who have managed to be where they are thanks to his effort, faith and personal work, in a society that believed in their dreams and has created laws in order that these were possible. Congratulation, First Lady of U. S.! In one pot, and with much less cost, get a group of students travelling, better known to his country, its peoples, history, society and politics. Brave! This example should be all areas of human reality. I forgot … I would be emotioned, too!

Posted by: avesaabrasil | November 5, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Michelle Obama's "Paying it forward," in the White House, check out this video for the Washington Area Women's Foundation, which is an organization whose mission is to build communities by investing in the lives of women and girls. Ms. Obama, you might like to know about this...

http://www.youtube.com/bethatwoman

In each of our lives, there is a woman who has made a difference. Celebrate those women every day by being like them. Be That Woman.

For more info visit: http://thewomensfoundation.org/

Posted by: Amanda123 | November 5, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Michelle Obama's "Paying it forward," in the White House, check out this video for the Washington Area Women's Foundation, which is an organization whose mission is to build communities by investing in the lives of women and girls. Ms. Obama, you might like to know about this...

(http://www.youtube.com/bethatwoman)

In each of our lives, there is a woman who has made a difference. Celebrate those women every day by being like them. Be That Woman.

For more info visit: http://thewomensfoundation.org/

Posted by: Amanda123 | November 5, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

bdavispcthotmailcom; the hatersr are simple, sick borderline insane individuals. They failed miserably at life and Barack/Michelle's presence magnifies it even more. Those miserable runts -- Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief, otisplum and others are too ignorant to be taken seriously. It's amusing how much time & energy they put into sounding stupid.

Posted by: bcs2k | November 4, 2009 5:56 AM | Report abuse

If the Obama administration hope to win a second term, they need to revamp the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury). Under these two cabinet secretaries, we have ICE, CBP, USCIS and other under DHS. Under Treasury, we have the IRS and TIGTA. The IRS is the most hated federal agency in the USA. All of the DHS and Treasury's employees work for the American taxpayers because it is them who pay their salaries. The problem we have is that corruption and employee misconduct at DHS and Treasury is growing. TIGTA's last three semiannuals reports to the US Congress report -0- complaints against IRS employees for retaliation and harassment. Instead of naming new committees such as the last one for "Arts and Humanities" I suggest the Obama people appoint committees on ethics, integrity and anti-corruption. Ignoring our American taxpayers and their basic needs: be treated with respect and dignity by our federal public servants is basically predicting a one term Obama administration.

Posted by: doctormiguel | November 3, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

This world is so full of hate I'm beginning to wonder where all the Christians are that chose to proclaim the Obamas to be something other Christians?? What God are you praying to in order to spew such ignorant comments? I've been a Christian for over sixty years and I've never pray to a God that was an author of confusion. The First Lady wanting to mentor some young ladies have turned into a cult movement??? Do you all wake up in the morning on your knees to Satan or what??? And would the people please stop talking about the First Lady hating this country,she stated she have never been prouder. And until you have walked in the shoes of a minority person don't be so quick to claim an unquestionable pride in a country that has and still is judging on the basis of race.Please respond with after the election of 2008 this is a "post-racial American",I've heard the hype and maybe it is not politically correct for the politicians to address bigotry don't for one minute think it is not fooling a vast majority of the moniorities. We don't have shout it out,we just have to be quietly heard at the voting polls.The guilt trip is over,I have had enough life experience to know if it walks and quacks like a duck,there is a 99.9% chance that's exactly what it is. Like my Grandmother always said"Dont' believe what you heard and only half of what you see."(God Bless her)

Posted by: bdavispcthotmailcom | November 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Another PHONY move by these phony RACISTS. It will be interesting how many of these young women will be White. Missy has been given everything all of her life, now the act will follow.

Posted by: otisplumber | November 3, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

An East Wing mentoring program for young women and a West Wing program for young men? When will gender equity concerns be addressed? What will be be teaching young people about their prospects?

Posted by: thomas23 | November 3, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

As an old white guy in the Midwest, my respect and admiration for Michell Obama continues to grow. I cannot think of another first lady who can match her towering presence in terms of the hope and inspiration she offers, not only to young black girls but to the downtrodden throughout the world. Talk about a class act!

Most of those who criticize her are racist pigs, pure and simple.


Posted by: JohnnyBoy1950 | November 3, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"...for area high school girls." Since DC is 90%+ "African-American" does this suggests that "mentoring" will be disproportionately offered to "minorities." Wouldn't that be "racism"?

Posted by: IQ168 | November 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Emma who last name I can't recall attended MSU in Baltimore at a time when that was the best opportunity she could find. It was that or no chance at all. She and another lady from the MD. area paid back the chance to go to college by mentoring students who lived in the Phila-Balt corridor. Suggest Mrs., Obama contact the little people at MSU, Deltas,NCNW(23 member orgs)and beyond to reach her goal

Posted by: scottdoris1yahoocom | November 3, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Maybe she can teach others to hate their country until their husband is elected President.

She could show the girls how to get a job where you get paid $300K but never have to show up for work!

Michelle can also show aspiring young girls how to deny healthcare to the indigent so your employer can make bigger profits.

After teaching how to abuse the indigent, then Michelle could bring you to her church and they can all chant slogans of how terrible the USA is.

What a wonderful role model!

Posted by: Obama_TRAITOR_in_Chief | November 3, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I am extremely proud that the First Lady saw the need for "girl" mentoring. As a person whose job include working with "at risk" girls in the juvenile justice system, it would be great to have some of these girls participate in the White House girls mentoring program. They will not only benefit from such an invitation, but I truly believe they will see a view of the world that they may never see in their present surroundings/communities. I will be available to help in this endeavor if the First Lady would like to include some "at risk" girls in her mentoring program. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Posted by: joanbradleydudley | November 3, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

These wing-nuts who object to mentoring our young men and women are also the ones who object to the President encouraging youngsters to do well in school -- do you see the pattern?

These haters will never see this duly elected President of the United States and/or the First Lady in a positive light, no matter what they do or say. They are hopelessly pathetic, angry, insufferable and miserable human beings. I'll be praying for these disillusioned folks, and praying they get professional counseling or spiritual renewal.

In the meantime I will continue to pray for our President, and our country.

Posted by: mskate | November 3, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I hope that some of these girls will be white; and I don't mean one or two tokens.

Posted by: Paaa | November 3, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I hope that some of these girls will be white; and I don't mean one or two tokens.

Posted by: Paaa | November 3, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

HughBriss
highwaybluesoccer is probably one of the formerly so-called "forever proud" Americans who cheered the US loss of the Olympics, scoffed at the presidents attempt to salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice (at Dover) and stood with the Taliban (regarding their recent statements about PResident Obama). That poster is lost, confused and bitter about life in general. She could use some mentoring by Michelle's team.

Posted by: bcs2k | November 3, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

What's up with some of the bitter folks (highwaybluesoccer, joinnow, stanlippmann) leaving comments about this story? They were probably in a better mood when Nancy Reagan was using the State Dining Room for entertaining with her fancy new china. And when the only black lady in the room was passing hors d'oeuvres.

Posted by: HughBriss | November 3, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Mentored by a women who claims that this is the first time in her adult life, she is proud to be an American? No Thanks!!!Hypocrite.

Posted by: highwaybluesoccer | November 2, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Good job!

Do well!

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | November 2, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

stanlippmann; Michelle was never in an Affirmative action trap. You, stanlippmann, are in a lifelong failure trap. You are stuck where you're at because you failed to try hard enough. So don't blame others, blame your sorry self. Our first lady is doing a wonderful job. It's no surprise that she makes the previous first lady's look like mindless drones -- lacking of energy, style and intelligence.

@rlfj1
You are right....bitter GOP nutjobs lack the intellect to appreciate the benefits of this program. Instead they pout and spew nonsense. I suggest they call the White House to see if they can receive some mentoring. The useless bitter GOPers need all the help they can get! lol

Posted by: bcs2k | November 2, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm so proud of her. Keep up the good work First Lady! We love you!!!

Posted by: jameelah101 | November 2, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful. Stunning. Excellent. Absolutely excellent. Once again Michelle is redefining and elevating the role of the First Lady. I feel sorry for future first ladies -- they better have a cape on their back to keep up.

Posted by: bcs2k | November 2, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Michelle!!, Mighty Michelle!!..anyone who has a problem with this program needs mentoring:)

Posted by: ruraledcomm | November 2, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

BRAVO!

Posted by: MILLER123 | November 2, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

A young men's program, rooted in the West Wing, will launch soon.
+++++++++++++++++++++++

Funny how the boys are an afterthought, even though boys now lag behind girls in almost every area of academic achievement.

Posted by: moebius22 | November 2, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"Fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life, Michelle."

Posted by: joinnow | November 2, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of the Obama's but I don't really see a problem with this program.

Posted by: askgees | November 2, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

This First Lady is awesome. I hope these girls realize just how fortunate they are. There are some smart, accomplished women in this WH.

Posted by: thehummelr | November 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

We are so sick of you Michelle, and you crass materialistic values. You are where you are because of affirmative action, not because you deserved it. You can never escape this trap, you are its victim as well. Because of your privilege, you will never understand that you have nothing to offer anyone, and I wish you would just disappear so I don't have to think about you.

Posted by: stanlippmann | November 2, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe anyone could possibly find something to criticize the White House mentoring initiative, but rest assured the far-right will find a way to do it.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 2, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

If FLOTUS really want to help young women, she would use her influence to have her husband cease bombing them with his secret airforces in undeclared and illegal wars.

Posted by: georgejones5 | November 2, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

It's so good to see the White House occupants reaching out and assisting/helping/mentoring the children in their neighborhood.

There will be plenty of people who complain but what are they doing to help others.

Posted by: rlj1 | November 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Momlee do you unerstand the concept of mentoring? Please keep your ignorance to yourself.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | November 2, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Is this mentoring or brainwashing?

Posted by: MOMLEE | November 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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