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That Time I Got Invited to the White House

If anyone would have ever told me back in 2005 when I started Role Mommy that my mission to inspiring parents to pursue their passion while raising a family would have eventually led to me attending an event at the White House, I would have told them they were nuts. But that was then, when I was still climbing the ladder at a corporate job with two little kids in tow.

Fast forward 11 years and I just experienced the best day ever as a blogger. Thanks to Cafe Mom and The Stir, I was invited to attend a very special event at the White House where about 150 parenting bloggers would get to learn more about the First Lady's "Let's Move" initiative.

When we arrived, we were whisked through security and the process was pretty organized and simple. In a matter of minutes we were on the grounds of the White House and were able to roam freely - especially when one security guard told us - "you don't fit the profile for terrorists." He's got that right!

We were all practically giddy walking up that hill to the White House and were even more amazed when we walked inside and were encouraged to visit all the rooms (no - we couldn't check out the Lincoln Bedroom but we did see a lot!). I remember visiting the White House as a kid but when the rooms were all roped off when I was there. But under the Obama Administration, you can walk into a room and even sit down and take photo right under a painting of Jackie Kennedy.

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Before we knew it, we were invited into a room filled with round tables and we all took our seats in nervous anticipation as the event started. The morning started with an introduction by Deb Eschmeyer, the Executive Director of the Let's Move campaign who talked about the impact Let's Move has made to combat childhood obesity and educate kids and families about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

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Since the Let's Move campaign was introduced, over 80 million people in this country now live in a LetsMove city, town or county.

The mission of Let's Move is to get to a place where everyone in communities across our nation has access to healthy lifestyle options.

Former Olympian Dominique Dawes
Throughout the event, we were introduced to so many inspiring women who play an integral role in the Let's Move campaign. Former Olympian Dominique Dawes who is now a mom of two and the co-chair of the Fitness Council for Let's Move, shared her personal story of how she realized the importance of finding time for herself when she became a mom. While nutrition is important to staying healthy and fit, it's just as important to take time out of your day to exercise.

Dawes is also involved in Lets Move at school, an initiative to encourage kids to be active. "If we teach kids these healthy habits when they are young, they will continue these habits throughout their lives."

Every Kid in a Park Initiative
From schools we hit the parks and learned that starting this year, 4th graders who visit our national parks with their families will be given the opportunity to visit for free! That means if you are traveling to the Grand Canyon or Acadia Naitonal Park or anywhere in between, if you've got a fourth grader in your car, you will get free admission!

You can download your pass at www.everykidinapark.gov .

The goal behind the every kid in a park initiative is to get everyone out to explore.

Community Gardens
Another incredible accomplishment of the Let's Move Campaign are the amazing community gardens that have been created as a result of their efforts. From faith based communities to schools, kids and adults are coming together to plant seeds and grow vegetable gardens - teaching children about where food comes from and empowering them to become a part of the healthy eating movement.

On the Let's Move website, you can find out more about how to start your own community garden and shares the following news:

The USDA has grant funds available to help parents create and start a farm to school program.

Technical assistance materials available - Let's Move has spent the last seven years creating resources that schools can take advantage of.

Let's Move wants to champion success - there are little girls like this all over the country -- that are super psyched about the gardens -- kale that they grew is on on the salad bar. When we share stories it inspires others.

Let's Move is also running the "One in Melon Award" -- accepting nominations now through April 15 -- to showcase schools in our nation that have exemplary food to farm programs.

Choose My Plate
Growing up, we were conditioned to know about the Food Pyramid that was released by the USDA and told us how many proteins, breads, fruits and vegetables we should eat each today. Today, the pyramid has been replaced by the Healthy Plate. Some initiatives currently taking place to celebrate communities embracing this new model include:

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge -- kids 8-12
1. My Plate My State -- If you have a child in your home who loves to cook or develop recipes, then you might want to enter them into a contest where kids are encourage to submit recipes -- one winner from every state will attend a Kids State Dinner at the White House! The goal is to showcase locally grown foods, from your state or region.

2. My Plate My Wins Challenge - show people you can make simple small changes on a day to day basis -- 2+2+2 - try two foods from every food groups and 2 kinds of physical activity for 2 days. Over those 2 days you record your progress and that information lives in the Let's Move super tracker. You can even form a team and compete with each other and add a little fun.

Finally, celebrities are also lending their names to the Let's Move campaign, recording inspiring and hilarious videos and sharing them via social media. Follow the hashtag
#TeamMFNV to follow along with your favorite stars.

More to come in my next post...including details on Michelle Obama and the personal story in her life that led her to tackle childhood obesity with the Let's Move campaign.

Posted in: Blog, TV on 03/17/2016

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