Obama-backed program aims to empower student leaders to do more

CHICAGO — Inside Malcolm X College on the West Side, leaders are being born.

The Obama Foundation’s Community Leadership Corp kicked off a six-month program this weekend aimed at uniting motivated young people who want to grow as civic leaders. The ongoing program started by former president Obama through his foundation works to get young people active and involved in their communities.

Among them is 19-year-old Diana Villalobos, who just finished up her sophomore year at the University of Illinois, and is the Co-Founder of Outreach and Co-ordination for Uniteach Learn One Love One,  a by-product of the Obama Foundation.

"It’s just really refreshing to meet people who are just as committed to creating change as you are," Villalobos said.

DePaul graduate Nassir Faulkner worked with a student organization to persuade students to back a referendum raising their tuition by a few dollars to create a scholarship for "Dreamers." The scholarship splits $150,000 between three undocumented students to help them attend DePaul.

"This was only for undocumented students who were dreamers who were here on dreamer program attending school but not able to receive any federal dollars because of their immigration status," Faulkner said.

For the 35 participants, it's an opportunity to learn new skills and learn from each other, before going out in their communities to do good. They will come back together for a three day boot camp in August so they can get feedback on their plans, as well as future training on how to implement them.