the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady at Congressional Service Event

2:41 P.M. EDT

 MRS. OBAMA:  Yay!  (Applause.)  Well, I’m not going to talk long because I want to paint.  (Laughter.)  I love painting murals.  I am a mural-focused painter.  I think I am an expert.  (Laughter.)  You’ll have to test me out.  I hope I have something fun to paint.  I’m very -- looking forward to it.

 But before we start, I want to just thank everyone again.  First of all, to my congressional spouse partners who all came out today, thank you so much.  We had a wonderful lunch yesterday.  We had the best time.  It was so much fun.  And this is a perfect way to cap off what has been a really wonderful couple of days for us. 

 Pat, again, I want to thank you as the co-chair of the luncheon -- (applause) -- as well as Helen.  I’m not sure if everybody is here.  But thank you for the luncheon yesterday.

 But to all the spouses, thank you for coming out today.  I mean, as I said in my speech to you all yesterday, these service opportunities mean so much to the communities that we work with.  I mean, the fact that we are out here, dressed down, hanging out with our community, doing something that means something and adds value is priceless.  And it’s not just priceless for them; it’s priceless for us.  So again, thank you for doing this.  I want to see our numbers increase.  We’re going to do this every year. 

 And to the families in the community here on the base, we are so proud of you all and so grateful that you’ve given us the opportunity to spend some time and paint this beautiful mural.

 The effort that Jill Biden and I have put together, Joining Forces, truly is for you all because we know you guys sacrifice so much.  I mean, it makes me feel good to know that you have such a wonderful community center, that you have such strong child and youth programs, because the children and families need it.  They are making sacrifices that many Americans don't even understand.  And to know that they’ve got a resource like this making their lives just a little bit brighter and a little bit easier is just what we want to see in this country. 

 And I continue to urge all Americans to find ways to be a part of these types of programs, to reach out and help.  They’re all over the country.  There are families all over this nation who need this support.

 And I also want to thank the Corcoran students, as well.  I mean, wow.  It’s easier for us to fill in the lines -- (laughter) -- but the time that you’ve invested in structuring this beautiful mural -- (applause) -- we really do value what you do.  This is truly the kind of leadership that we know you have in you for the years to come.  This is putting your education to good use.  So we’re very proud of you.  Thank you for taking the time. 

 I want to again thank our team back here.  I want to make sure -- I want to thank Rachel and Darrilyn and Captain Calandra and everyone here, all the staff, again, for hosting us today.

 And with that, I think we should get back to painting.  You guys ready?  (Applause.)  All right.  (Applause.)

END 2:44 P.M. EDT