Spotlight Exclusives

First Lady Hammers Home Support for Struggling Youth

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Michelle Obama arrived today at the National Mall ready to assist more than 100 low-income youth from across the country and several members of Congress in constructing a “green” house for a struggling Texas family.

The event marked the 30th anniversary of YouthBuild U.S.A., a national organization that helps at-risk youth work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while building affordable housing for poor or homeless people.

“Participating in national and community service is not just an escape for the wealthy,” said the First Lady, who in her remarks today emphasized the importance of national service in helping low-income, vulnerable youth transform their lives. “And service must become a part of each of our livesBarack Obama gets it. He gets it because he’s lived it.”

President Obama has proposed expanding YouthBuild from 8,000 to 50,000 young people annually as part of his national service platform, and $50 million for the federal YouthBuild program was included in the economic recovery bill.

On the Mall today, YouthBuild students demonstrated their “green job” skills as they framed the walls and side an exterior wall of a house using techniques that protect the environment. The house will be completed in Brownsville, Texas, and given to Merary Rios, a single mother who works two jobs and whose mobile house was damaged last year by Hurricane Dolly.

The First Lady praised YouthBuild for providing its students with valuable skills giving them “a second, third and fourth chance.”

Michelle Obama۪s appearance today is another important indication of the President۪s commitment to national service and building a sustainable economy that invests in vulnerable youth and families. To be sure, the First Lady has her own public policy issues to highlight and her own platform to stand on. But her remarks offered another glimpse at the direction the new Administration expects to take on this critical issue.  


Posted by Mike

Quotes based on remarks as prepared.


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