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One part of our job in the Office of Public Engagement is to help the public, and the groups that represent their interests navigate and engage with the right areas of their government. We help them navigate the Administration and its branches in order to help find the folks here who can shine light on their questions, comments and suggestions.
Surprising to me, when I shared that's what I do with the Americans I’ve interacted with since I started in my new role here at the Office of Public Engagement, they seemed surprised. It’s almost as though they don’t realize that in addition to serving at the pleasure of the President, we also serve at the pleasure of the American people –or more accurately we *work for* the American people.
A good friend from junior high was trying to describe this function of our department to another friend and he said "…it’s kinda like those old school change-sorters from the 80’s. The ones you could dump in all your pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters and the machine would sort them out into the right cylinder. It sounds like your office does that… but with requests and phone-calls and letters and more importantly the big issues facing everyday Americans… they ask you for help and you get ‘em to the right person." In some ways it’s perfectly right…
I guess that’s why I love it here so much. I’ve always loved being a dot connecter and here that’s part of my job as the public/private partnerships lead for our office: to help Americans from across the country not only connect the dots to their government, but also… and here is the best part… in the process, we help to shape the way our government works and do our best to make the lives of Americans, that much better.
Every day is a new adventure, a lesson learned, and a blessing to serve the President.

David O. Washington, Ph.D, is the Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement