After President Obama addressed the local audience and television viewers around the nation, Cleveland Nelson, AmeriCorps member, said: “[Obama’s] message really called us to action. The change he seeks isn’t going to come from him alone; rather, we all should contribute to improving our neighborhoods, communities, and nation.” The group observed that the new President has a knack for using words to motivate young people to participate in leadership and government.
One highlight of the evening was observing how “real” and “human” the President and First Lady are. The youth were particularly impressed by President Obama’s wit, charisma, confidence, and his ability to dance. The Obamas danced their first dance as President and First Lady to Etta James’s “At Last,” performed by Beyonce.
While watching the Obamas dance, AmeriCorps member Adama Konteh thought “At last, our nation is united under the leadership of a man who won’t cower behind delusion and false promises. At last, the nation can truly call itself a land of equality and freedom. At last, the American people have something to look forward to.”
Upward Bound participant Cesar Ruano noted that the inauguration of Barack Obama is “historical for not only African Americans, but all minorities and has shown me that if you want something in life you should never give up because your dreams can come true.”