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First Lady Michelle Obama: Keep on Working, Keep on Achieving

“If the talent of one girl goes unrecognized, if one girl’s dreams go unrealized, if one girl is denied opportunities for reasons that have nothing to do with her talent or character or work ethic, then we all miss out,” First Lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska, where she spoke to staff, volunteers, supporters and participants of Girls Inc. – a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Mrs. Obama praised the work of the organization for their efforts to show girls across the country that they are capable of being anything they dream of, as long as they stay true to who they are.

Girls Inc 04242012

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the keynote address at Girls Inc. of Omaha's 12th annual lunch in Omaha, Neb., April 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

The nonprofit that started with just six girls coming together in a church basement 37 years ago has developed into a program that benefits thousands of girls across the country. Through Girls Inc.’s programming, girls can take lessons in everything from reading to changing the oil in their car and participate in activities like field trips to the theater and museums. And as the First Lady underscored, learning how to incorporate healthy choices in their daily lives – the essence of Let’s Move – is essential to helping girls fulfill their potential and pursue their dreams:

 “I want all of our girls to grow up healthy. So we have to have this conversation about good health. We want to make sure you understand what you’re learning here at Girls Inc. – that it’s not just important what goes into your head, but you have to take care of your entire body and nourish it, and treat it as the temple that it is.”

Mrs. Obama called on the Girls Inc. leaders to remain dedicated to giving girls the confidence they need to believe in themselves, reminding them that she, too, depended on the unconditional love and support of her parents growing up to believe in herself and have the courage to pursue the things she loved. In closing, she urged the girls to be strong, smart and bold: “Focus on the people in your life who give you positive reinforcement…Gravitate to the positive.”