The White House

Office of the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady at Congressional Family Service Project

Imagine Southeast Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.

1:06 P.M. EDT

        MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  This is a very cool experience because, you know, I’ve known and worked with KaBOOM! long before being First Lady when I was at Public Allies running an AmeriCorps national service program.  KaBOOM! was a huge partner -- and a baby just in its infancy.  And to see this organization grow as it has, impacting so many communities, so many schools, so many young people, it is really a source of pride to be here today to celebrate the 2000th build.  

        So I’m really proud of Darrell, I’m proud of everyone at KaBOOM! because it takes thousands and thousands of people to do what you all do all over the country.

        Arne is a dear friend, has been a dear friend for quite some time.  And it is a joy to share the stage with him.  But the real powerhouse in the family on this effort is his wife, Karen Duncan who works very closely with KaBOOM!  (Applause.)  And she is an advocate for health and sports and fitness, and they have two beautiful kids who crack me up all the time, Claire and Ryan.  He -- Ryan is going to be the next Michael Jordan -- somebody.  It’s coming, it’s coming.  But they are a family that believes in service, that believes in getting young people outside to play, and it is a wonderful partnership.

        I just want to thank a few people before we start.  We have a lot of people helping us today.  First of all, several members of Congress and their families are here today.  We have a congressional picnic, but so many of them have taken time out of their busy days to come and be a part of the service.  It means a lot to me.  It means a lot to politics in this country that we all can come together for something important like this.  So I want to give them a round of applause and a special thank you for being here.  (Applause.)

        We have AmeriCorps volunteers who do everything and anything anywhere around the country.  They are here.  Let’s give them a round of applause for AmeriCorps volunteers.  (Applause.)

        We have BOOMers who are here who are always here making it happen.  Again, thank you.  (Applause.)

        But more importantly, I want to thank this community, the community members who have allowed us to come here, who have developed and built and support this beautiful school; to all the kids who will be taking advantage; to all the people across the street.  (Applause.)  You all make sure you help take care of this playground.  You make sure that kids get over here and play.  We want you all moving.  We are proud to be here, proud to have the media here in this community looking at what you all are doing, what's been able to be accomplished here.  

        So with that, I’m going to stop talking.  I’m going to do some -- I’m going to mix concrete.  (Applause.)  It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to mix concrete.  So let’s get going, you all.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

END 1:09 P.M. EDT

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