Meeting Michelle Obama 'life changing'
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
When two high school students -- Annie Willis, from Long Island City and Shavonne Campbell from Brooklyn -- met First Lady Michelle Obama at an education summit in DC in June, they asked her to visit the Global Kids headquarters in New York to learn more about their work.
To their surprise, she said yes -- and on July 10, the First Lady met with more than 20 students here to learn about their projects in international relations, social justice and policy issues.
She came because the students asked, Ms. Obama told them.
Lyndon Lewis, 15, who attends the High School for Global Citizenship in Prospect Heights, said, "I was excited and nervous. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the First Lady. It was a life-changing event."
Annie Willis said she was “thrilled that the First Lady kept her promise,” adding that many of her fellow students saw her as a positive role model.
Global Kids, a non-profit, works to develop youth leaders in underserved communities by offering students a global perspective.
Four students from Brooklyn’s High School for Global Citizenship in Prospect Heights demonstrated a socially conscious geo-locative game they created, based on the life of Jackie Robinson. Lewis, joined by Jania Nelson, 16, Alaya Shearman, 14, and Isatu Barry, 14, also had the First Lady play-test a game they created for her featuring the White House vegetable garden.
Brooklyn students Bekim Hoti and Taylor Ware, both 18, explained their summer travel to Bosnia, a Global Kids program sponsored by the US Department's American Youth Leadership Program. Hoti is a graduate of the School for Democracy and Leadership on the Wingate Campus, and Ware attends the High School for Global Citizenship.
Two students -- Makayla Comas, 17, who attends Benjamin Banneker Academy, and Shanice Bent, 18, a student at the High School for Global Citizenship -- showcased their climate change activism work and their recent campaigns to promote green roofs on New York City schools and mandate climate education.
And three representatives of Global Kids' summer program at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) discussed with the First Lady what they learned about international law and foreign policy.
CRF summer institute attendees Thoin Farzana, 18, who attends the Academy for Health Careers; Xavier Jackson, 18, a student at the High School for Global Citizenship; and Chayanne Holder, 17, at student at the School for Human Rights (on the Wingate Campus) shared what they learned during their summer immersed in foreign policy workshops, trips, and meetings with policy experts.
"Global Kids is honored that First Lady Michelle Obama chose to meet with our students in New York City and wanted to learn more about our innovative programs," Evie Hantzopoulos, executive director of Global Kids said in a statement. "Her visit with us is a wonderful validation of our work and the chance of a lifetime for our students."
At the end of her visit, the First Lady extended an invitation to the White House to the Global Kids students. The students said they would take her up on her offer.