The Day Mfa Met The President
September 20th 2015
On a quiet, hot day in August, Mfa got the call. The MFAction team was being called upon, given its work with KaBOOM!, to craft a communications plan for a service project for the September 11thNational Day of Service and Remembrance – a project the President and First Lady of the United States may very well attend.
The project would be a two part endeavor thanks to a grant to the nonprofit organization, MyGoodDeed, to build a new playspace at a deserving school in N.E. Washington D.C. The day would involve the building and completion of a playground, outdoor classroom, hanging wall gardens, and painted walls resulting in a creative, engaging, and interactive playspace for the students of The Inspired Teaching School, an educational community that incorporates diverse types of play into their curriculum and every day. The afternoon service project would include special guests of KaBOOM! and students of the school stuffing Go Out And Play! Essentials Backpacks to be donated to local homeless children, giving them the gift of play.
The President and First Lady may, or may not show up, we were told.
Be prepared for both.
After intense planning and preparations leading up to the date, the 9/11 Day of Service was upon us, a day that has in a way been taken back thanks volunteers across the country as a day where we come together to give back rather than a day of sadness and anger.
Starting early in the morning Mfa was on-site at the school and playspace with local FOX 5 D.C. who broadcast live from the project the entire morning with interviews from KaBOOM! spokespeople, volunteers, and others. The Washington Post covered from the school as well, with a Metro section feature story on the community and organizational efforts. USA Today shot video and posted online content. Other local news stations brought cameras to film the ribbon-cutting as the D.C.-area model service project.
None of the media knew that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were slated to potentially visit the school on a “surprise” stop later that afternoon.
And then just after 5:00pm, after the Secret Service had closed down the surrounding streets, and all KaBOOM! volunteers and the MFAction communications team were in place in the playground (with no cellphone use allowed), the President arrived. The First Lady came, too. They congratulated KaBOOM! and all of the volunteers on their efforts, and they smiled as they were handed ratchets to help tighten bolts on the playground slide. They signed the chalkboard of the outdoor classroom. Mrs. Obama sat with us in the mulch as we took an entire group photo. And then, the 44thPresident of the United States of America shook our hand, asked us our name, and thanked us for our service today, and every day.
Photo credits: KaBOOM!
Photo of POTUS/FLOTUS on playground: President Obama and The First Lady commemorate the September 11th National Day of Service & Remembrance by joining nonprofit KaBOOM! to build a playground for The Inspired Teaching School in N.E. Washington, D.C.
Photo of POTUS and the girl smiling: President Obama joins KaBOOM! Alumna Nicole Newman in assembling Go Out and Play! Backpacks for the benefit of D.C. kids.