President Obama reaches out to ReachOut

It’s been an exciting week! If you’ve been following our social media channels over the last few days you’ll know that ReachOut has been involved in something truly historic.

On Saturday, five ReachOut mentees were invited to attend a Town Hall with the President of the USA, Barack Obama!

Owura Osei-Asibeh, Gavin Alexander, Sabrina Choudhury, Tionne Tulloch-May, and Izzy Cofie (left to right in photo) were on the edge of their seats as Obama discussed key major issues including foreign affairs, racism and gender rights.

The main focus of the speech, however, was that young people had to work hard and stay optimistic about solving world issues. The President asked the audience of young adults to “reject pessimism and cynicism” and “take a longer, more optimistic view of history”.

As proponents of good character, we couldn’t agree more. If you mix a positive attitude with staying power and community spirit, then there are no problems too big to tackle.

The whole event was a great experience for our mentees, who were hugely honored to have been invited to take part:

  • “Barack Obama made me understand that you have to do the right thing, not necessarily do things ‘right.’” – Gavin
  • “[I’m going to] be more open to change. Accept others’ opinions and be more understanding.” – Sabrina
  • “As well as continuing to work with kids as a tutor, I am going to seek more volunteering opportunities to help wherever I can.” – Tionne

We are proud and inspired that our young people are choosing to create positive change in the world and people around them. This is what ReachOut is all about.

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London