Monday morning greetings from San Francisco, the site of the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering & Service from which I'll be blogging much of this week. The conference opens today with first lady Michelle Obama, who will launch the president's United We Serve initiative to make this summer of 2009 a summer of service. As you may have heard, the president — former community organizer that he is — is calling on all of us to volunteer in our communities this summer to help the country's economic recovery. He'd also like us to make service part of our daily lives for good. The summer of service idea is to do something every day beginning today and ending on Sept. 11, a day of national service and remembrance of those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Obama already has talked about his idea on YouTube — check it out here — and he is urging us to take a look at the White House's new web site serve.gov to both register our projects and look for ways to get involved.
Mrs. Obama is expected to officially get the initiative off the ground with her keynote speech before this perfect audience later today. But this morning, before any speeches are given, the first lady will join Maria Shriver, California's first lady, and a group of volunteers recruited some time ago, to build a playground at a local elementary school, with the help of KaBOOM, which builds playgrounds around the country. The two first ladies have advocacy of volunteerism in common and it's a coup for Shriver to have Mrs. O out there with her. But then, both are women who walk what they talk.
Photo courtesy of the White House