First Lady Obama visits Omaha

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April 24th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Michelle Obama was in Omaha on Tuesday for Girls Inc.’s annual “Lunch for the Girls” fundraiser. The First Lady addressed a crowd of over two thousand people with a message of encouraging young women to keep on working and achieve their dreams.

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First Lady Michelle Obama gives a message of encouragement for girls to keep working, and achieving their dreams. (Photo by Lindsey Perterson)

Girls Inc.’s annual “Lunch for Girls” kicked off with a math lesson, with a twist, when a handful of girls from the group’s step team, recited time tables to the beat of their hands and feet.

Girls Inc. is a national non-profit committed to supporting young women around the country. Girls Inc. member, Chanecia Martin, stood beside her mom on stage telling the crowd at Omaha’s Century Link Center how the organization has changed her life.

“I would say that I am now this beautiful strong smart and bold 15-year-old,” Martin said, “who went from being a quiet, shy girl to an outgoing, sometimes hard to shut up, fashionable, friendly 15-year-old girl.”

Before the keynote speaker, First Lady Michelle Obama, took center stage, girls like Martin and others presented science projects, a “Girls Gone Fit” video and poetry pieces. Then, against a backdrop of the American flag, along with 20 smiling, bright-eyed girls, Michelle Obama addressed the audience, and the girls, and praised the organization for not just lifting up young women, but America.

“So we simply cannot afford to miss out on even one young women’s potential,” Obama said.

“If the talent of one girl goes unrecognized, if one girl’s dreams go unrealized, if one girl is denied opportunity for reasons that have nothing to do with her talent or character or work ethic then we all miss out. We are all diminished,” she said.

“That’s why it’s up to every single one of us to lift up these girls,” Obama said.

Obama is the honorary chair of the national Girls Inc. organization. And during her speech, she highlighted some young women here in Omaha.

“Then there are young women like Denai, who started coming to Girls Inc. here in Omaha when she was five years old. She dreamed of being a pediatrician,” Obama said.

“Today, I understand she’s a freshman at UNL, studying biology and pre-med, I also understand that a couple of weeks ago, she was one of two students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center when she graduates…,” she added as the crowd started to applaud, “Yes indeed.”

In an interview with KVNO News after Obama’s speech, Denai Fraction said, “It was amazing… to hear the First Lady be as ecstatic about it as me.”

After the event, the First Lady headed to a political fundraiser for her husband’s re-election campaign hosted by investor Warren Buffett.

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