Obama Celebrates Father's Day Early

The president hosted a White House luncheon with Chicago at-risk teens.

Posted: 06/14/2013 11:14 AM EDT

For young men who's fathers aren't around or very engaged in their lives, having the president of the United States as a periodic substitute is probably a pretty big deal. And when he invites you to the White House for lunch, that's an even bigger deal.

Students and leaders from the Becoming a Man program at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago were among the guests President Obama hosted at a luncheon in the State Dining Room on Friday. The event also was an opportunity for him to continue a national conversation he began in his first term about how important fathers are in nurturing their families and communities.

“It is good to see all of you here, so many young people, so many outstanding dads — a few moms chaperoning,” Obama said. “Obviously, this is a great way for us to celebrate Father’s Day and just to remind ourselves, those of us who are fathers, how lucky we are."

Being a dad, the president said, "is the best job I've got."

Earlier this year, the president spoke at Hyde Park Academy about the economic proposals outlined in his State of the Union address. He also met with 16 students enrolled in the BAM program in a private session during which they shared with him the personal challenges they face and are working to overcome.

"It's very personal to him because he didn't have a father; his father abandoned him," senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said at the time. "I think he takes his role as a mentor very seriously and he leads by example."

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 (Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

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