Michelle Obama is in San Jose today to promote her new autobiography, Becoming, at a sold-out SAP Center event. But before her 8pm appearance at the sports and concert venue, the former First Lady will visit a lucky group of school kids as part of an educational workshop at the Seven Trees Library and Community Center.
The student seminar is hosted by Public Allies, a 25-year-old nonprofit that trains young people throughout the U.S. to become leaders. It will not be open to the public.
Obama has worked with the organization for decades, leading its Chicago chapter in the 1990s and inviting members to meet her at various stops during her book tour. Public Allies even gets a shout-out in her book, which follows Obama from her childhood, to her work for nonprofits and the legal field and her calling to work with underserved youth.
Here’s the excerpt that mentions the group:
“I’d been hired to be the executive director for the brand-new Chicago chapter of an organization called Public Allies. Public Allies [is] all about promise—finding it, nurturing it, and putting it to use. It was a mandate to seek out young people whose best qualities might otherwise be overlooked and to give them a chance to do something meaningful. To me, the job felt almost like destiny.
The most exciting part for me was finding the Allies themselves ... Who were the leaders? Who was ready for something bigger than what he or she had? These were the people we wanted to encourage to apply, urging them to forget for a minute whatever obstacles normally made such things impossible, promising as an organization we would do what we could …
... I’ve been amazed over time to see how many of our recruits did, in fact, succeed and commit themselves long term to serving a larger public good. Twenty-five year after its inception, Public Allies is still going strong with chapters in Chicago and two dozen other cities and thousands of alumni across the country. To know that I played some small part in that, helping to create something that’s endured, is one of the most gratifying feelings I’ve had in my professional life.
For the first time in my life, really, I felt I was doing something immediately meaningful, directly impacting the lives of others while also staying connected to both my city and my culture.”
Another 90 or so San Jose Unified School students and their chaperones will get a chance to meet the former FLOTUS at the district office on Lenzen before walking with her into the SAP Center auditorium. The students represent eight local high schools—Broadway, Gunderson, Leland, Lincoln, Middle, College/Liberty, Pioneer, San Jose and Willow Glen —and were invited by Reach Higher, a nonprofit founded by Obama.