Youth Inaugural Video: Mr. President, Can You Hear Us?

January 1, 2015

Produced in 2013, this video was updated in 2015.

President Obama's inaugural address sets the tone and agenda for the next four years in Washington. So what do young people want the president and Congress to prioritize?

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So many great voices, so little space! Here are some powerful additional clips. Click the picture to launch the video.

"Normal Doesn't Change the World."
"We Look Rich but We're Buried in Debt."

Is Our Food Killing Us?
What I See at the Shelter
Aaron on ObamaCare

Claudia on DREAM Act

Hope in Our 'Hoods

Grace on Teachers

Why No Gun Tests?
Jade on Teachers

Fausal on Media Literacy

Brandon on Safe Opportunities


You can also view it as a playlist on YouTube.


The Facts Behind the Videos

In the videos above, young people ages 5 to 25 shared their priorities with the Obama administration and Congress. They raised important issues, many of which are shaped at least in part in this country by federal and state policies.

Here are some facts connected to these priority areas, with links to learn more. 

Health & Health Care    |    Hunger     |     Education & Opportunity     |     Early Learning     |     College     |     School Climate


  • Kids do best with a medical home, which is a regular primary care provider and access to comprehensive services to meet children’s health needs.
  • About 8 million U.S. children are uninsured and depend on public programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). See how your state is doing.
  • Uninsured children are more than 4 times as likely as an insured child to have an unmet dental health need.
  • Uninsured children are more likely than insured children to perform poorly in school. The good news: enrolling children in health coverage is linked with improved school performance.
  • Health care reform means that insurance companies can’t deny care to kids under 19 based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Starting October 1, 2013, states will receive two more years of funding to continue coverage for children not eligible for Medicaid.  Learn more about CHIP.

More:  SparkAction's Health topic page, CLC Members focused on health


Many of the young people who shared their ideas were focused on the need to support people with mental health issues. This took several forms--people spoke about it within the the context of school violence and the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., as well as bullying, discrimination, even in ability to find and keep good jobs. has an article worth reading:

Easiest Path to Mental Health Funding May Be Medicaid Expansion | By Michael Ollove, Stateline Staff Writer
Although mass shootings have shed light on the problems of mental health services, states are unlikely to come up with much new money for them. But the federal government might, through Medicaid expansion.


  • According to the USDA, more than 50 million Americans live in "food insecure" households —where they struggle to meet their basic food needs and sometimes may go hungry or skip paying important bills in order to eat. That's 33 million adults and nearly 17 million children. (More.)
  • At least 20 percent of kids in 36 states and D.C. lived in food insecure households in 2010.
  • Across the U.S., 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. (More.)  
  • Schools are a major source of healthy food for many students. More than 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day in the U.S.
  • Being hungry affects more than physical development; hungry kids are more likely to have trouble concentration and to performer more poorly in school.

More:  CLC Members focused on health and nutrition, SparkAction's Early Nutrition toolkit


  • Almost 50 million students are heading off to approximately 99,000 public elementary and secondary schools for the fall 2012 term, and before the school year is out, an estimated $571 billion will be spent related to their education. Learn more.
  • Three-quarters of the nation's schools, or 59,400, report needing repairs, renovations or modernization in order to reach good condition.
  • Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States.
  • Recreation and mentoring for in-school youth and education and career preparation for out-of-school youth can make a difference in a young person's stability and success. Programs like YouthBuild and the Corps programs (AmeriCorps, Service Corps) are bringing measurable improvements.
  • Plus: What if Kids Ran the Schools? An exploration on the need for more responsive schools that teach the skills needed for college and beyond, from What Kids Can Do. 

More:  CLC Members focused on education, SparkAction's Education topic page


  • In 2010, about 64 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds were enrolled in preschool.
  • Public programs like Head Start and Early Head Start serve more than 1.1 million children ages and pregnant women.
  • These programs provide school readiness and learning-related activities, but they also offer medical support, parent supports, and meals to the children enrolled.
  • Research, including a recent impact study, finds strong long-term advantages of Head Start, including reduced need for special education, better health and wellness as teens and adults, higher high school and college graduation rates, and greater participation of parents in their child’s education. So that’s pretty cool.
  • Quality matters. Nearly 6 million children under age 3 spend time in some type of child care setting. Ratios of staff to kids and staff training make a big difference. High quality child care is associated with significant advantages in learning, development and well-being, while poor quality care can actually  “lead to poor cognitive, social, and emotional developmental outcomes,” according to National Research Council.

More:  CLC Members focused on early learning, SparkAction's Early Childhood  topic page


  • More jobs than ever require a college degree. College graduates earn an average that is twice as high as workers with only a high school diploma.
  • College costs have risen significantly. In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of more than $26,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever (more).
  • About 66 percent of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid in 2007–08, according to ECS.
  • College completion: Students who fail to graduate from college often carry a significant debt burden without the benefit of the credential to get jobs that would allow them to pay this debt down.
  • Bet you didn't know:  College graduates are three times more likely to vote than those who have dropped out of high school.
  • The Obama administration set a goal for the US that by 2020, we will have the highest proportion of adults with college degrees in the world.

More:  CLC Members focused on higher education, SparkAction's College Success & Work Readiness topic page



  • Bullying can be physical, verbal, or psychological/relational.
  • In an OJJDP survey, 13.2 percent of participants reported having been physically bullied during the previous year.
  • Despite high-profile tragedies like the massacre in Newtown, CT, school is still one of the safest places for children and youth to be, as measured by incidents of violence and accidental injury or death. The CDC has facts on school violence.
  • Homicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States.

More: CLC members focused on prevention, safety and developmen