Contributing To The Obama Foundation’s Hometown Playlist

by Monica Mendoza

In their last message from the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama announced their newly launched website for their foundation and encouraged everyone to stay in touch.

“Tell us what’s on your mind.”
“Tell us about the young leaders, and companies and organizations that inspire you.”
Add Your Voice to the Obama Foundation
By Martin Nesbitt, Chairman of the Obama Foundationmedium.com

Since then, The Obama Foundation has been actively reaching out through a series of questions posted on their website. Last month I was inspired to share my thoughts:

Tell us the name of a song that reminds you of your hometown. Even better, tell us how it has inspired you to be active in your community.

“I was born in La Paz, Bolivia but the U.S. has been my home since I was 2 years old. My family — mom, dad & three kids — immigrated to the U.S. and lived in Queens, NY. We honestly didn’t have much but my parents somehow found a way to make enough to support their family. Despite having little in material things, we found joy in being a family. I have fond memories of my dad playing his favorite music on weekend mornings. We would sing along pretending a hairbrush was our microphone. Though my dad’s repertoire was heavy with bands like The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones — there were a ton of South American bands. I loved being immersed in the music of my Latino roots.”

“One song that continues to be one of my favorites is Paul Simon’s version of a Peruvian song, El Condor Pasa. Paul Simon wrote English lyrics that are so hopeful. It’s comforting and it makes me nostalgic; reminding me of my childhood and of all the sacrifices my parents made to make a life for us here in this country. The song encourages us to press on. It’s a beautiful representation of cultures that came together harmoniously. Today I lead a non-profit that is clearing the path for world-changing ideas. We provide mentorship, education and community to social entrepreneurs around the world. We’ve primarily worked in South and SE Asia but I’m excited about the prospect of working with Latin America next year. And just as Paul Simon blended two cultures in song, I hope to blend cultures together in passion. The passion to change the world and to do it hand-in-hand with people of all backgrounds, cultures, races…”

You can listen to the track I mentioned along with the other suggestions on their Hometown playlist. It’s a collaborative playlist and it’s not too late suggest a track.

Thank you to The Obama Foundation for inviting us to share our stories.


Monica Mendoza serves as Jolkona’s Executive Director and believes in the difference mentors can make in helping social entrepreneurs create innovative solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Sign up for our newsletter, make a donation or sign up to be a mentor today!

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