split-screen of President Obama and Devin Edwards

By the time he arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina last week, Devin Edwards had already undertaken the journey of a lifetime. Edwards, 22, grew up in hard circumstances on the streets of Boston. But as a young adult, he found a second chance learning to code in Operation Exit’s Resilient Coders program, excelled in a paid internship in Boston’s Health & Human Services Department through the Professional Pathways program, and delivered a speech this summer before Mayor Walsh, local media, and youth participants in the city’s Summer Youth Employment program.

On October 11th, Edwards attended a student town hall meeting at North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black college, featuring U.S. President Barack Obama. The forum, called “A Conversation with the President: Sports, Race & Achievement,” addressed opportunity gaps facing youth, including boys and young men of color. The president spoke about his My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative, designed to close these gaps, which has supported programs like Operation Exit.

Edwards took the opportunity to go from an audience member to a questioner of one of the most powerful people on earth by asking President Obama: “What do you see MBK continuing to provide for brothers like myself who come through violent neighborhoods and troubling upbringings?”

See the video to watch Edwards explain the personal background to his question and to hear President Obama’s answer.