Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's Read! Let's Move! Senate Hearings! Ice Cream!

On Wednesday, I volunteered with Let’s Read! Let’s Move! the program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, designed to help combat childhood obesity by encouraging our nation’s children to become healthier by being more physically active.  AAPD intern Rodney Maiden, who also works at the Department of Education with the Rehabilitation Services Administration, was the MC for the event.  This week’s special guests were U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, former Washington Redskin linebacker, LeVar Arrington, host of the television program Reading Rainbow, and star of Roots and Star Trek, LeVar Burton, and Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler.  Over 150 children from DC participated in the program.  After having stories read to them, and participating in a question and answer session with our celebrities, the children proceeded outdoors, where activities such as obstacle courses and basketball stations awaited them.  Many of the challenges had a theme that endorsed healthy foods, such as filling salad bowls and shopping carts with play fruits and vegetables.  There were also taste stations where children could sample healthy snacks.  Children also went home with autographed books meant to encourage them to read. 

I also attended an ice cream social, given by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, having been invited by Yoshiko Dart.  We sampled Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and were treated to a Grateful Dead tribute band.  Senator Leahy and Yoshiko posed for pictures with us, and I got to meet Alexandra Reeve, daughter of the late actor Christopher Reeve, who is general counsel for Senator Leahy.  We had a beautiful view from the rooftop of 300 New Jersey Avenue. 

Last week also saw me attending a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "The Next Ten Years in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Attacking the Problem with the Right Tools."  Witnesses testifying before the committee included actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who has founded the anti-trafficking organization, Don’t Sell Bodies, and who brought with her three survivors of childhood trafficking.  Ms. Pinkett Smith was part of a panel who urged Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was designed to combat human trafficking.

Here are some photographs from last week.  

                 with Senator Patrick Leahy at his annual ice cream social.

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan at Let's Read! Let's Move!

                                    Actor LeVar Burton

                              Miss America 2012  Laura Kaeppeler

   Me with formeer Washington Redskin linebacker, LeVar Arrington

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