First and Second Ladies Join Forces
Talk with kid journalists about life in the White House
While President Barack Obama worries about issues like the fiscal cliff and creating new jobs, First Lady Michelle Obama is fighting her own battle: Making sure her daughters Sasha and Malia have a regular life.
“I want them to be normal kids just like you guys,” the First Lady told a group of kid journalists. “I want them to serve and I want them to think about ways that they’re going to learn and grow. As a mom, that’s really what I think about every single day.”
The First Lady and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden spoke with young reporters from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, Time for Kids, National Geographic Kids, and Highlights at a roundtable discussion about the inauguration and life in the White House. The event took place on Friday in the East Wing of the White House.
Dr. Biden told the young journalists that she also tries to keep her life normal. She's a teacher, and she still teaches fulltime at Nova Community College in northern Virginia. In fact, many of her students don’t even know that she’s married to Vice President Joe Biden.
“I love my community college students, and I always say that they are my heroes,” Dr. Biden said. “They are going to school, a lot of them are raising kids, they have jobs — so they’re doing it all.”
The First and Second Lady Join Forces
The women also discussed their Joining Forces program. They started Joining Forces in 2011 as a way to help military families.
There are more than 2.3 million military personnel serving today and 1.9 million children of our military. Joining Forces focuses on helping military kids, spouses, and veterans.
“We looked at the military family as serving, not just the person who was deployed,” the First Lady said.
"There are a lot of things that [military] families go through that other families don’t really think about,” Dr. Biden added. For example, the First Lady told the kid journalists that the average military kid "may go to five or six or seven different schools."
The First Lady said that she saw what militaries families went through when then-Senator Obama first ran for President in 2008.
“I had an opportunity to meet military families and kids when the President was first campaigning,” she said. “That was one of the first opportunities I had to go on military bases and really understand the huge sacrifice that these families make."
Dr. Biden said she had a different reason to get involved with Joining Forces. She's a military mom and grandmother, so she has first-hand experience of the difficulties military families face.
“My son Beau was in Iraq for a year and [he and my] daughter-in-law Hallie have two children," Dr. Biden said. "I saw how hard it was for her to go through the holidays."
Committing Acts of Kindness
One of the things Joining Forces asks is that Americans should “commit a act of kindness” toward a military family. If there is a military family in your community, do something to help them. It can be as small as shoveling the snow from their driveway or bringing over a meal. The point is every small thing counts.
During inauguration weekend, the First and Second Ladies did a very big thing for military families. They invited servicemen and women and their children to the Kids' Inaugural concert on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Musical acts like Katy Perry, Nick Cannon, Fun., and Alicia Keyes performed for the crowd of military kids and their parents.
The concert was held at the Convention Center in Washington, and it was packed with thousands of excited kids. First Lady Obama and Second Lady Biden attended, as did Sasha and Malia.
Joining Forces has allowed the women to give back to the country in a big way. It has also brought them closer together. They told the student journalists that they are great work partners, as well as close friends.
“I am at the right place at the right time,” Dr. Biden said enthusiastically.
The First Lady agreed. “I think [President Obama] picked the perfect Vice President because we got Jill.”
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