The article in More is about the First Lady's mentoring program where she matches up 20 local high school girls from the "middle" (neither honor roll nor high-risk kids) with senior leaders in President Obama's administration. This is how she introduces herself to those 20 girls.
“They call me FLOTUS, for first lady of the United States,” she explains, noting that the president’s internal White House acronym is POTUS. “And there are many times when FLOTUS and POTUS feel like characters.” There have even been times, she says, when she’s craned her own neck to see which celebrity might be causing all the excitement. “And it’s me. Oh, man, it’s FLOTUS. FLOTUS is here. No one told me FLOTUS was coming.”...
“But sometimes,” Obama tells her class of mentees, “I just want to be Michelle. So you guys have to start slowly seeing me as Michelle, all right?”
Here is what she hopes the girls get out of the program.
Confidence, and the idea of "paying it forward" is what Mrs. Obama wants girls, and her two "prime mentees" -- Malia, 13, and Sasha, 10, to walk away with. At the end of the day, "they will feel good about themselves. They will know that they've breathed in some of the most rarefied air, and it felt normal to them. They know that if you can do this, then there isn't anything you can't do... There isn't any room you can't walk into," she says.(Emphasis mine)
This has been a theme for Michelle Obama since the day she stepped foot in the White House. It reminds me of what she said to a group of girls from England's Elizabeth Garrett Anderson secondary school on a trip she arranged for them to Oxford University.
I'm not the only one who's excited to see you all here today. Students and faculty at this university were eager to visit with you all, as well.
And there's a reason for that. It's because all of us – and it's important for you to know that – all of us believe that you belong here; that this is a place for you, as well. We passionately believe that you have the talent within you, you have the drive, you have the experience to succeed here at Oxford and at universities just like it across the country and across the world...
...all of us who brought you here today don't just think that universities have a lot to offer you. We believe that you all have a lot to offer these universities – your talent, your passion, your unique life experiences. And we very much want you to believe that's true, as well.
And I want you to know that you have everything you need to succeed at a place like this.
This is how its done folks! Michelle's mentoring program will not solve all of the challenges facing teenage girls in this country. But she's grabbed 20 of them within her reach and is finding a way to have a personal impact on their lives.
That's what I love about Michelle Obama!