Monthly Archives: June 2010

First Lady Michelle and Russian First Lady Medvedeva Visit Duke Ellington School of the Arts

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady Svetlana Medvedeva of Russia attend a performance at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, D.C. June 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“Just in this performance, you have strengthened the bond between two great nations. Imagine that,” said Mrs. Obama following a music and dance program at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, DC. First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by the First Lady of Russia, Mrs. Svetlana Medvedev.

Arts education and engaging young people around the world are priorities for both First Ladies. During the President and First Lady’s visit to Russia last summer, Mrs. Medvedev and Mrs. Obama attended a performance by the Moiseyev Dance Company with an audience of Russian youth.

Mrs. Obama spoke to the students about the potential of the arts:

So you know how the arts can enrich all of us in this nation as individuals. You know how the arts can enrich all of our communities and the country. And you know how the arts can connect us to each other like nothing else can. You know how people who come from completely different cultures and backgrounds, people who might not even speak a single word of the same language, they might still be drawn together when their hearts are lifted by the notes of a song, or a vision on a canvas, or the graceful arc of a dance.

And I think that should give us all cause for hope, all around the world, because we know that ultimately, relationships between nations aren’t just about relationships between presidents and prime ministers, or first ladies, for that matter. The real foundation of these relationships are about the connections between ordinary citizens, particularly between young people. You all are leading the way in this movement.

She spoke about their shared priority to engage youth:

That’s why engaging young people across the globe is such a priority for me, and I know it is for Mrs. Medvedev as well, because her country, like ours, is a place that cares deeply about culture and about the young people who carry it forward…And as I travel around the world, I want young people everywhere to know that the United States believes in them and cares about their future. It is so important for us to continue to lift up the next generation, not just here in this country but your peers around the world.

“It’s up to you,” said Mrs. Medvedev, “Up to the young people of both countries, to build the world that will be a world of friendship and cooperation between our states and between our governments.”

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West Wing Week ~ Mailbag Day ~ June 18 – June 24, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia talk as they wait for their lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Va., June 24, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Mailbag Day! We decided to make episode thirteen of West Wing Week a chance to respond to some of your letters and emails. This week, find out if the White House composts, learn which direction the eagle on the Presidential seal faces, and examine the process by which the flag flying over the White House is lowered to half-staff.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Launches President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

Posted by: Audiegrl

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joined kids from the Washington, DC area to launch the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and introduce the 2010 Council co-chairs and members.  In conjunction with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this year President Obama has broadened the scope of the Council, formerly known as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, to include a focus on healthy eating as well as active lifestyles.  Yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order outlining the Council’s new emphasis on both good nutrition and physical fitness.

The President has named Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and Dominique Dawes, three-time Olympian and former U.S. national champion in women’s gymnastics, 2010 Council Co-Chairs.  Dawes delivered remarks at the event and Brees recorded a video message that was shown there.  Joining Dawes at the event were 2010 Council Members Dan Barber, Tedy Bruschi, Allyson Felix, Michelle Kwan, Curtis Pride, Donna Richardson Joyner, Dr. Ian Smith, Carl Edwards, Cornell McClellan and Dr. Stephen McDonough.  Council Executive Director, Shellie Pfohl, was also in attendance. Following the announcement, the First Lady, Pfohl and the Council Members joined the kids in participating in a series of activity stations.

“This year we’re expanding the work of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to include not just a focus on active lifestyles, but on healthy eating, too,” Mrs. Obama said.  “The Council will play an important role in our effort to help combat childhood obesity in this country and I am grateful to the athletes, chefs, doctors and nutrition experts who are volunteering their time on the Council to help make a difference.”

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is a committee of volunteer citizens who advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services about opportunities to develop accessible, affordable and sustainable physical activity, fitness, sports and nutrition programs for all Americans regardless of age, background or ability.  The Council’s mission is to engage, educate and empower all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.  For more information about the Council and its members, visit www.fitness.gov.

In addition to its presidential advisory role, the Council promotes and maintains the President’s Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards program (President’s Challenge) which encourages all Americans to include physical activity – 30 minutes per day for adults and 60 minutes per day for youth – in their daily lives.  For more information about the President’s Challenge programs, visit www.presidentschallenge.org.

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West Wing Week ~ Gator-cade ~ June 11 – June 17, 2010

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama greets members of the audience following his remarks at an event with military personnel at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., June 15, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Join President Obama this week as he hosts an event for small business owners in the Oval Office, makes his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast, meets with governors, residents and workers to discuss the spill, speaks at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, gives his first Oval Office address, meets with BP Executives, speaks at the American Nurses Association and much more.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Camp Pendleton

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Shulman

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks to Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton in California. June 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

It’s become one of my defining missions as First Lady, and that’s to help the rest of our country better understand and appreciate the incredible service of you and your families, and to make sure that your voices are heard back in Washington and that your needs are met, and to make sure that we realize our vision of an America that truly supports and engages our military families. That’s why I’m here,” said Mrs. Obama to a crowd of 3,500 Marines, sailors and their family members at Camp Pendleton, California.

Given all that the service members and their families do to take care of America, The First Lady emphasized every American’s a responsibility to do their part. That’s why she issued a national challenge to every sector of society to take action to support and engage our military families — not just now, but for years to come:

We have to build the capacity to support you and your families at every stage of your lives. But to do this, we need a truly national commitment — no one can sit on the sidelines. One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting you in that fight.

The First Lady also paid tribute to all fallen heroes, including Camp Pendleton Marines who gave their lives just this past week: Sergeant Brandon Bury. Lance Corporal Derek Hernandez. Corporal Donald Marler. Sergeant John Rankel. Lance Corporal Michael Plank.

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First Lady Michelle, Rachel Ray, and Marcus Samuelsson: Cooking as a Way of Life

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Rachel Ray


I recently had the privilege of joining the First Lady and hundreds of chefs on the South Lawn of the White House to launch the “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative, a part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign. I grew up in the kitchen at an early age cooking alongside my mother. My grandfather grew all the food we ate: leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables and more.

To see hundreds of talented chefs all about to embark on a meaningful, very real journey into their community to give back and teach hundreds upon thousands of kids is truly remarkable. Understanding what good nutrition means and the basics of cooking are some of the most important tools kids need for the rest of their lives. Knowing how to put together a good, nutritious meal really improves the quality of one’s life.

I believe that chefs can be real leaders, in their communities, and beyond. Cooking is a way of life I was simply born into. Through this program, I hope that every child in America has the opportunity to experience those same joys of food and cooking that I did – and still do – with that very special chef in their community.

Rachael Ray is a Child Nutrition Advocate and participant in the Chefs Move to Schools Initiative

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Ed. Note: As of today, 2,330 chefs and 688 schools have signed up to be a part of the Chef’s Move to Schools initiative. See all of the participating chefs and schools across the country on this map and learn more by visiting LetsMove.gov.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at Anacostia Senior High School Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama sits with class valedictorian Jordan Smiley during the graduation ceremonies for Anacostia Senior High School on June 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mrs. Obama delivered the seventy second commencement address to the once segregated high school, with 146 graduates in the Class of 2010. Ninety percent of the graduates have been accepted into college. (Photos by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

HP~Her voice cracking and eyes filled with tears, first lady Michelle Obama remembered her parents’ sacrifices for their two children and how they pushed for success as she urged high school graduates to claim their destiny.

Mrs. Obama addressed students, parents and faculty of The Academies at Anacostia at the school’s graduation ceremony Friday at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, not far from the White House. She said she would not have been standing at the podium if her parents had not encouraged her and her brother, Craig Robinson, to dream big.

“I remember my mom pushing me and my brother to do things she’d never done herself; things she’d been afraid to do herself,” the first lady said. “What I can remember is my father getting up every day and going to work at the water filtration plant, even after he was diagnosed with MS, even after it got hard for him to button his shirt, and to get up and walk. See, I remember my parents sacrificing for us, pouring everything they had into us, being there for us, encouraging us to reach for a life they never knew.”

Michelle Obama’s father, Fraser, is deceased. Her mother, Marian Robinson, lives at the White House with the first family.

She also encouraged the graduates to give themselves a pat on the back.

“You have to understand that there are a lot of people out there who believe in you. I believe in you. The president of the United States believes in you,” said Obama, who spoke for about 25 minutes. “When times are hard for us, you inspire us. You keep us going. We are expecting big things from you in the years to come. Big things.”

The first lady urged students to surround themselves with the right friends, travel abroad and to continue to pursue higher education.

“You don’t have to be on a college campus to educate yourself,” she said. “There are opportunities all over D.C. to enrich your lives and enrich your minds.”

It was Mrs. Obama’s second address to Anacostia students. She visited the school during the last academic year to mentor female students. The school is in one of the poorest sections of Washington and has struggled in the past, leading to its transfer to a charter school operator.

According to the graduation program, 164 students received diplomas during the ceremony. More than 90 percent of the graduates have received college acceptance letters. Mrs. Obama said school attendance and college acceptances had risen significantly.

Graduate Jordan Smiley, the Class of 2010 valedictorian who will attend Hampton University this fall, told the first lady that the student body looks to her family as examples of what it can achieve.

“Today we are proof that change, whether good or bad, can be beneficial,” Smiley said in his speech. “We are writing history and we have the choice to determine what the future says about us.”

Remarks by the First Lady at Anacostia Senior High School Commencement Ceremony

Members of the audience sing the national anthem during the Anacostia Senior High School commencement ceremony at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)


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