North Shore Community College students Fanny Cai, Boston, and Zoe Karelas, Melrose, were recently selected to participate in an Obama Foundation Training Day, along with 150 other young people, ages 18-24, to kick start their work in civic life and to become more active in shaping their own communities.
The Obama Foundation, the former president’s post-White House venture, wants young people to become the next civic leaders of America.
The Obama Foundation Training Days launched in Chicago, IL on October 14, in Tempe, AZ on November 11 and came to Boston on November 18 and was hosted at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College.
According to the foundation’s website, Training Day attendees moved, in small groups, through a series of workshops and team challenges led by peer advisors. From understanding the importance and fundamentals of telling their own personal stories, to breaking issues down to their root causes and developing a “first step” to address them, participants had an opportunity to build upon their experiences and learn new ways to make an impact in their community.
Additional highlights from the day included an Engagement Fair with local organizations where participants could explore volunteer and leadership opportunities in the greater Boston area, and a team exercise on identifying personal and community assets — showing participants how well-equipped they actually are to make change.
“Inspiration was one of the strongest themes I came away with and passion was the common link between those I encountered at the Obama Foundation Training Day,” said Cai. “I met many like-minded individuals that were committed to making a difference through their visions of change, from young entrepreneurs to the talented visionaries of the arts to the savvy drivers of communications/social media movements.”
“The training reinforced that we can recognize our own strengths for the betterment of others and adhere to the steps of putting our ideas into action, whether in a community or global setting.” Cai added. “The best part is that I was able to branch out to a network of successful young people and we agreed that our mutual support for each other is important for our future endeavors. So, I am excited to be able to keep in touch in order to continue to cheer on and foster their growth and success.”