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Department of Education Answers the Call to Service

Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, discusses the importance of government doing its part and participating in United We Serve: Lets Read, Lets Move.

This summer, the President and First Lady launched United We Serve: Let’s Read, Let’s Move – a national call to use service as a tool to promote physical activity, healthy eating and to prevent the loss of academic learning during the summer months. This call to service encourages Americans to help fight something called the “summer reading gap” - where kids who don’t read during the summer can lose months of educational progress. And in her remarks, the First Lady emphasized the need for collaboration to make this summer a success:

“We’ll be asking individuals and community organizations, corporations, foundations and government to come together and devote their time and energy to helping folks in need… The idea here is very simple: and that’s to do everything we can to help our kids stay active and healthy – and to keep them learning – all summer long.”- First Lady Michelle Obama.

Government is also doing its part of United We Serve. Under the leadership of Secretary Arne Duncan, the Department of Education has successfully answered the President and First Lady’s call. In doing their part, the Department of Education has invited cabinet members, senior administration officials, and other public figures to their 2010 Summer Enrichment Series to read children’s books, promote healthy lifestyles, and participate in games and fitness activities with children in pre-kindergarten through third grade.

As part of the 2010 Summer Enrichment Series and in participation with United We Serve, Secretary Duncan has hosted a number of summer reading events with special guests Karen DuncanSecretary Ray LaHood, from the Department of Transportation, Chris Draft, from the Washington Redskins and Mrs. Marian Robinson.

We are excited to see the Department of Education taking a lead on service and so glad that so  many other individuals, organizations, and federal agencies participating in United We Serve: Lets Read, Lets Move. For more information about United We Serve or the Department of Education, please see or the Department of Education’s Blog.

Sonal Shah is the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation