MIAMI (WSVN) - Former first lady Michelle Obama spent her Friday in South Florida, making a surprise visit to the Overtown Youth Center in Miami to speak with future leaders before she appeared before a sold-out crowd at the BB&T Center.

The former first lady visited the Sunrise arena for a meet-and-greet and book signing on her best-seller, “Becoming,” Friday night.

“That’s what this book is all about. It’s all about the small stories that build the journey that builds a life,” Obama said. “I want every little girl out there, every little boy to understand that those stories that you’re living in now, that’s what makes you special. That’s what makes you human. That’s what makes you who you are.”

Before attending the sold-out event, the former first lady participated in a sit-down with young women from Miami high schools, Friday afternoon.

“I heard so much about these girls,” Obama said to the group. “You got a lot of work to do, right? You can handle it. I’m just so excited to see you guys.”

The teens are part of the Overtown Youth Center, where the young women participate in after-school and summer leadership programs.

“When she came, I just heard some heels, and I was completely shaken,” student Jada Fulmore said. “I’m highly blessed to be able to meet Michelle Obama. That was someone I definitely look up to. She gave a lot of advice that I can definitely take and use in the future.”

Obama has been touring the country on a nationwide book campaign and has stopped at local communities, schools and youth centers along the way.

On Friday, the students received insights and inspiration from one of the most powerful and recognizable women in U.S. history.

“At first I was like, ‘Is this a hologram? Are they pranking me?’ You have no words,” student Hilairee Lebin said. “It’s nothing to describe it. It’s just a moment where if you were there at that exact time, you would understand it. Learning to take care of yourself as a human being and, honestly, being able to put every good thing that’s in your body and how to output all the negative energy and how to fuel yourself and how to make sure you are prepared for anything life throws your way.”

Obama spoke to the group about women empowerment, skills for success and overall well-being.

“You want to start out with a good foundation on all fronts — on your health, on your emotional well-being and how you care for yourself,” Obama said. “You gotta take care of your body like it’s a precious instrument. When you grow up like we do, failure is a part of that journey, so I always want young girls to get used to failing ’cause if you fail, that means you’re trying.”

The students had no idea who was coming or what to expect. Some of the students guessed Beyoncé would be the guest speaker.

By the end of the sit-down, the lessons in leadership the students learned were only the beginning.

“You know, all of that gives you the kind of fortitude that it’s gonna take to get over some of those hard times and absolutely matters,” Obama said.

Former President Barack Obama is not a stranger to the youth center. He has visited the center two times.

Copyright 2023 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox