Obama Foundation hosts bootcamp for young leaders as part of the Community Leadership Corps program

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More than 100 people, ages 18 to 25, participated in an Obama Foundation leadership bootcamp.

The Obama Foundation hosted a bootcamp Saturday in Chicago for its Community Leadership Corps program.

Young people, ages 18 to 25, are hoping to be civic leaders and enrolled in the six-month program. The group of 107 gathered at a DePaul University conference room for the two-day training.

Each person tackled specific issues and the bootcamp enabled them to get feedback on their plans, along with some training.

"We really try to make it bite-sized, identify a very specific problem," said Kelsei Wharton, of the Obama Foundation. "So, instead of going for world peace or world hunger, you're actually thinking of your community and identifying a specific issue. Is it your corner store? Your convenience store doesn't have fresh fruit and vegetables. Is there someone that's making that decision at that corner store?"

Launched back in June, program applicants had to submit their ideas and demonstrate their commitment to them before being allowed in. Their passions were as diverse as the people in the room.

Participant and aspiring music teacher Andre Cardine hopes to bring much-needed funds to arts programs in Chicago Public Schools.

"Students feel as if those are things that they can't achieve. Like, I can't be a singer. I can't be a musician. I can't be an artist. They really can, but that isn't being invested into our CPS youth the same way it is our suburban youth," Cardine said.

"This weekend we brought in two new teammates. I realized bringing them in has helped me because they brought ideas I had never really thought about," Villalobos said. "Not one person can save or help anyone, but i think everyone does have the capability to help one person."

The bootcamp continues Sunday.

Other community leadership bootcamps also were held in Arizona and South Carolina.
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