Former President Barack Obama met Sunday with at-risk young men and boys in his hometown of Chicago before his first major post-presidency speech.
The former president spent time at a roundtable with youth from the organization Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny located in the Roseland/Pullman neighborhood in South Side Chicago where Obama started as a community organizer at age 25.
The CRED program provides job skills and employment opportunities for at-risk young adults.
Spokesman Kevin Lewis says Obama listened to the young men's stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up. Obama "was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program," Lewis said.
The program was founded by Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan, who also attended the meeting.
"The president and Mrs. Obama look forward to working with similar organizations through the Obama Foundation and the My Brother's Keeper initiative that are already committed to bringing much needed expansion of opportunities in Chicago neighborhoods," Lewis said.
Obama will speak Monday to young community leaders and organizers at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is planned.
Obama's first public engagement comes as President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark in office.