The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • Be Part of the Joining Forces Community Challenge

    I’m writing today about a very special project, the Joining Forces Community Challenge.

    In that past few years, the First Lady and I have seen incredible examples of people and organizations reaching out to our military families in creative and meaningful ways.  Individuals and groups are coming together in communities all across this country to make a difference in the lives of our service members by hosting baby showers, providing free accounting help during tax season, or recognizing military families during community events.  As an Army mom, I am especially grateful for this outreach.

    To recognize and celebrate these individuals and organizations, the First Lady and I launched the Joining Forces Community Challenge earlier this summer.  The challenge will award several national prizes later this year that recognize citizens and organizations for their efforts in support of military families.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Greet People at the Warrior and Family Support Center

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden greet people while visiting the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, Texas, April 13, 2011. The First Lady and Dr. Biden met with service members and their families during their visit to the facility, which helps care for family members of Wounded Warriors whose recovery is expected to last a long period of time. The center was built with private donations and is run by volunteers from the surrounding community. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


  • Observing the Tenth Anniversary of September 11

    This weekend, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden remembered those who were lost in the attacks on September 11, 2001. September 11th has been designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and the First Family started the weekend by joining Americans from across the country in participating in service projects to honor those whose lives were taken ten years ago.

    On Saturday, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were joined by President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and former First Lady Laura Bush in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to participate in a dedication ceremony for the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.

    Watch a glimpse of the Memorial with the Vice President and Dr. Biden here.


  • The Humanitarian Crisis in Africa: How You Can Help

    Watch the video on the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

    Dr. Jill Biden and the US officials who joined her on a trip to a refugee center in Kenya want the American people to understand how severe the crisis caused by a combination of drought, famine and war has become, especially on the most vulnerable population, the children of Somalia.

    “It touched my heart,” said Dr. Biden about reading the news and seeing the footage of the spreading humanitarian crisis, “as a mother, I watched these children … saw them starving and thought, we have to do something.” Earlier this week, she traveled to the Dadaab refugee complex in Eastern Kenya, where approximately 420,000 people who have fled war-torn Somalia in search of food, water and shelter, are currently living in a tented city originally built to accommodate 90,000.

    Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, another member of the delegation, says more must be done to help famine victims. "A lot of people don't realize, especially in this environment of what's happening in terms of the economy here and at home, that this is the most acute food security emergency anywhere in the world now and in recent years," he said.


  • On the Ground in the Horn of Africa

    Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USAID Impact blog.

    Eighty kilometers from Kenya’s border with Somalia, the Dadaab Refugee Complex—already the world’s largest refugee camp—has seen on average 1,500 exhausted and starving men, women and children arrive each day.  Fleeing from famine that is now gripping a large portion of southern Somalia largely inaccessible to aid workers, thousands of refugees have walked days—or even weeks—to reach help.  The United Nations estimates that over 12.4 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including food, water and medical care, across the drought-stricken eastern Horn of Africa.

    Yesterday, I arrived in Dadaab with representatives from across the United States Government, including Dr. Jill Biden, Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith, Senator Bill Frist and Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz.  The trip underscored the commitment of the U.S. Government—the single largest donor in the region—to respond to the immediate crisis with life-saving assistance and investments in long-term solutions to hunger. Ultimately, we know that it is smarter and cheaper to invest in food security than face the consequences of famine and food riots.


  • Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in Kenya

    Dr. Jill Biden and Senator Bill Frist Visit Dagahaley Refugee Camp in Kenya

    Dr. Jill Biden and Senator Bill Frist visit the Dagahaley refugee camp, in Dadaab, Kenya. August 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Dr. Biden traveled to Kenya where relief operations are underway to help the thousands of refugees affected by the devastating famine in Somalia. Visiting with women and children at the Dadaab Refugee Complex, Dr. Biden – joined by former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith– witnessed firsthand the effects of one of worst droughts in 60 years and the resulting famine in Somalia. 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months and more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of care. Emergency assistance and investments in long-term development are saving lives and making a difference. Visit www.USAID.gov to learn more and find organizations that are doing life-saving work in the region.

    Dr. Jill Biden Talks With USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah at Dagahaley Refugee Camp

    Dr. Jill Biden talks with USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah at the Dagahaley refugee camp, in Dadaab, Kenya. August 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Courtney O'Donnell is Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden.


  • A Joining Forces Cookout with Military Families

    Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    Nothing says summer like a cookout and this past weekend First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined military families at the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters in Concord for just that. Dr. Biden kicked things off by sharing her experience as a military mom:

    My son, Beau, is a Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard and he recently spent a year in Iraq, so I know well the challenges that Guard families face when their soldiers are away.  And I also know how much it means when communities rally around family members who are managing in their soldier’s absence.

    The First Lady and I came here today for a very simple reason: to say thank you to all of you for all of your service.  You and your family -- service members around the country and the world inspire us with your strength and your resilience, and that applies especially to the family members of all ages who are here today.

    The First Lady and I are working hard through our “Joining Forces” initiative to make sure that every American understands the sacrifices that each of you as family members are making for the security of our nation.

    And we hope to inspire more communities around the country to reach out to military families like we are doing tonight in Concord and like I saw in Portsmouth...earlier today.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at a Military Family Cookout

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    The First Lady and Dr. Biden have been inspired by traveling the country and seeing how Americans are stepping up to support our military members and their families. That is why they just announced the Joining Forces Community Challenge, which will recognize individuals and groups around the country who are making a difference in the lives of military families. As the First Lady said at the cookout, those who serve and their families represent the very best of America:

    All of you are perfect examples of the 9/11 Generation. You’ve gone through unprecedented deployments. You’ve helped to defend our security through a decade of war. And you’ve strengthened our country not just as National Guardsmen and Reservists, but as teachers and as firefighters and businessmen and women, as well.

    You represent the very best of America –- a devotion to family, to community, and to country. And I just want to tell you that Jill and I could not be more inspired by all of you.

    You all are the reasons why Jill and I have launched this nationwide initiative that we’re calling Joining Forces because we want this entire country to recognize, and honor, and support our military members and their families. We want you to know that this country has your back.

    First Lady Michelle Obama meets with a Family at a Joining Forces Cookout

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with Gold Star families, Blue Star families, and service members and their families during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 24, 2011. The event was part of the Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)


  • Introducing the Joining Forces Community Challenge

    Dr Jill Biden Attends Operation Thank You!

    Dr. Biden visits with members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing in New Hampshire at a military appreciation event July 24, 2011. (by New Hampshire National Guard)

    Yesterday Dr. Jill Biden had the chance to participate in an annual event called “Operation Thank You!” in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Launched in 2004 as a way to thank and honor the military and their families for all of their sacrifice, Operation Thank You! has grown into one of the most successful military appreciation events in New England – raising funds and giving thousands of military families a day of well-deserved fun and recognition. 

    Dr. Biden spoke to the crowd and met with many of the families in attendance, and she thanked the various sponsors and organizers for doing their part. The event was a great example of the types of action and outreach we are trying to encourage around the country through the Joining Forces initiative.  To make Operation Thank You! a success, businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious groups and individuals from the local community stepped up and offered services and support. 


  • Team USA: An Inspiration to Girls Around the World

    The Presidential Delegation with Team USA  in Frankfurt for Women's World Cup

    Presidential Delegates Dr. Jill Biden, Ambassador Philip Murphy and Chelsea Clinton with Team USA at the Women’s World Cup soccer final July 17, 2011. (by State Department, U.S. Mission Germany)

    I just returned home from an incredible trip to Germany where I was truly honored to lead the Presidential Delegation to the Women’s World Cup soccer final.  While in Frankfurt, we were all thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the team and their families, and to cheer proudly and wave the U.S. flag for our heroes on the field. 

    As I told the team last night, though the final outcome of the game was not what we had hoped, we left the stadium so proud of this incredible group of women – and I am sure everyone at home feels the same way.


  • Women's World Cup Final: Dr. Jill Biden & the U.S. Delegation Arrive in Frankfurt to Cheer on Team USA

    Game Day is here! The day of the Women’s World Cup Final is here, and the U.S. Delegation has arrived in Frankfurt to cheer on Team USA.

    Dr. Biden addresses family and friends of Team USA

    Dr. Biden addresses family and friends of Team USA at the Residence of the Consul General of the U.S in Frankfurt, Germany along with Delegation Members Ambassador Philip Murphy, Chelsea Clinton, Carin Jennings-Gabarra, and Lee Satterfield. (by State Department U.S. Mission Germany)

    The delegation landed in Germany early this morning and had a chance to visit with some of the friends and family members of the team. Ambassador Phil Murphy, Dr. Biden and Chelsea Clinton addressed the group in an atmosphere of growing excitement, pride and anticipation.

    Dr. Biden thanked Team USA for honoring our country with their amazing performance – and also noted that the strong foundation for that has been laid by Title IX in the United States. She wished the team good luck from everyone back at the White House and a proud nation back home.


  • Video: Fourth of July Celebration at the White House

    A Salute to the President

    A young girl salutes President Barack Obama as he shakes hands along a ropeline with members of the military and their families at the White House, July 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Watch a video from the Independence Day celebration at the White House. The President and First Lady joined more than 1,200 military heroes and their families for a barbeque, a special USO show featuring Train and Amos Lee, and a viewing of the fireworks over the National Mall.

    Watch the celebration, here