First Lady Michelle Obama and California First Lady Maria Shriver were greeted Tuesday afternoon by hundreds of volunteers during an event to stress the importance of volunteerism at the San Francisco’s Bret Harte Elementary School.
The First Ladies, volunteers, children and staff worked together to install a slide in a new playground, which is situated in the shadow of the San Francisco’s Candlestick Park and was built by volunteers from the local elementary school.
"It's been the air we breathe in the Obama household," said Obama amid cheers from crowds inside and outside the school playground. The First Lady congratulated the volunteers for their willingness to make service part of their daily lives.
The event is part of the President Obama’s new community service program “United We Serve,” which highlights the importance of making time to volunteer for the community.
At the event, Obama and Shriver demonstrated through personal example that everyone can make time to do something for others.
"If Michelle Obama, her family and her husband can find time to serve, there is no excuse for any family who says it's too busy," Shriver said, adding that she considers the First Lady a girlfriend.
"United We Serve" program, championed by Michelle Obama, is her husband’s new community program designed to encourage Americans to volunteer regularly throughout the “summer and beyond.”
Prior to the event, hundreds of volunteers in orange T-shirts worked feverishly to ready the playground for the First Lady's arrival. Onlookers said that volunteers were landscaping, mixing and spreading concrete and putting the final touches on a mural featuring the San Francisco skyline and English and Spanish versions of President Obama's campaign slogan, "Yes we can."
Later the same day, Michelle Obama was also a key speaker at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, a three-day conference that attracted thousands of people from various nonprofit and major corporate organizations at the San Francisco Moscone Convention Center.