First family gets out for MLK Day
January 17th, 2011
04:47 PM ET

First family gets out for MLK Day

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama and the first family continued their tradition of public service for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by visiting a DC mentoring program

The president and first lady stopped by Stuart Hobson Middle School in Washington and greeted students and mentors who were part of the Greater DC Cares’ Mentoring Matters Initiative. The program hosted events in more than 30 schools in the DC area and focuses their efforts on keeping kids in school and striving for higher education.

Mr. and Mrs. Obama also helped to paint some cartoon characters on the walls in the cafeteria during their visit. The dancing-apples are meant to encourage healthy eating, one of Mrs. Obama’s main focuses as first lady.  Malia and Sasha lent their hands to painting as well, helping with painting college logos on canvases to hang on the walls.

“Dr. King obviously had a dream of justice and equality in our society, but he also had a dream of service, that you could be a drum major for service, that you could lead by giving back to our communities,” the president said. “After a painful week where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves what this country is all about.”

The Obamas have participated in service projects for the last three years on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Last year, they visited a DC soup kitchen and worked a food line, serving lunch to the homeless.

Topics: The Family • White House
First lady's 47 candles
January 17th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

First lady's 47 candles

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Any plans the first lady has to celebrate her birthday today will have to wait.  Since her 47th birthday falls on Martin Luther King, Jr. day this year, Michelle Obama is participating in a community service project with President Obama and her daughters to celebrate MLK Day of Service.

The Obamas marked the national holiday by attending Sunday service at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.  The congregation sang happy birthday to the first lady and others at one point during the two-hour service.

When Mrs. Obama arrived at the community service event for Greater D.C. Cares at Stuart Hobson Middle School, President Obama and the volunteers sang Stevie Wonder's version of "Happy Birthday."

The first family and volunteers are painting fruit on walls to urge healthy eating as part of the school's mentoring project.  That might be one birthday wish for the first lady since that's one of her signature issues.

It's unclear what else is in store for the first lady.