“Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear”– Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama. She is the first African American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main enterprises, she became a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, services members and their families, higher education (The Reach Higher initiative), and international adolescent girls’education.
Michelle Obama’s father was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department, while her mother stayed at home to care for Michelle and her older brother Craig. She noticed her father disregarded the fact that he has a disease multiple sclerosis. He used two canes to get to work, and saved money to send Michelle Obama to college. She learned that “the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and willingness to work hard for them”.
Michelle earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School. In 1988, she retired to Chicago and joined the Sidney Austin firm. While she was working at Sidney Austin she met Barack Obama, who was a summer associate which she was assigned to advise. In 1992 they got married.
In 1992, around this time Michelle Obama returned to public service. At Chicago’s City Hall she was the assistant commissioner of planning and development, before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, and AmeriCorps that prepares young people for public services, where she developed the university’s first community service program. In 2002, she went to work for the University of Chicago Medical Center, where in 2005 she became the vice president of the community and external affairs. During the years of between 2002-2005 Michelle and Barack Obama had their daughters Maila and Sasha.
As the first lady, Michelle Obama started Let’s Move! A program that was created to end childhood obesity within our generation. Through it, elected officials, business leaders, educators, parents, and faith leaders work together to provide more nutritious foods in schools, bringing healthy and affordable food into underserved communities, planting vegetable gardens across America, and providing new outlooks for kids to be more active. Each year local school children helped plant and harvest the garden she started on the White House South Lawn. In the garden vegetables and fruits were served in the White House and donated to soup kitchens and food banks.
During Barack Obama’s second term in office, Michelle Obama led the Reach Higher Initiative. This program helped students get a better understanding of job opportunities and the education and skills they will need for jobs. Michelle Obama encouraged young people to continue their education past high school in technical schools and community colleges as well as colleges and four-year universities. All over the world, she championed the education of girls and women. In a graduation speech that she gave at City College of New York she told the graduates, “Never view your challenges as obstacles”. During her time at the White House Michelle Obama worked to support veterans and military families. Her focus was also on her most important role: Mom-in Chief to her daughters, who grew up to be accomplished young ladies during the eight years in the White House.
Michelle Obama is a role model for all young females around the world. Michelle Obama taught everyone that education is very important no matter where you start. The fact that is that you finish your education and become something better in life. Take your education to the next level. You will have challenges and obstacles in your life, but no matter how tough life gets, it’s up to you not to give up. Michelle Obama taught me to become a better version of myself.
Tamara Patterson, is a lifestyle enthusiast, English Major at Medgar Evers College and lives in Brooklyn