On Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama held an early celebration of Mother's Day by hosting a tea in the White House's East Room. Guests included former first ladies and daughters of former presidents, mothers and spouses of military personnel, and a remarkable young woman who has exemplified the importance of intergenerational service; Carrie Ryan.
Carrie is the 2009 recipient of Generations United’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award; an award which honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to an intergenerational program or has advocated for older adults and youth. While in high school, Carrie founded Bridging the Generations, an organization that connects high schools and retirement communities through service-learning projects. She then enrolled in an independent study course called “Images of Aging in Literature” which led her to further pursue her passion for intergenerational programs by connection her high school with a senior facility, Monte Vista Grove Homes, and creating a computer lab. Now a student at Sewanee University, Carrie is the head of the Senior Citizen’s Outreach Club. She has expanded the club’s outreach to five local retirement communities and has recruited many of her fellow college students to participate in visits to these older adult homes. Carrie continues to champion the mission of her organization and encourage the important connection between generations and their community.
The message of intergenerational appreciation was echoed several times by First Lady Michelle Obama at Friday’s event. The First Lady highlighted the message of President Carter’s 1979 Mother’s Day proclamation, in which he wrote: “In this time when the family is subjected to many new pressures, the job of nurturing future generations is often both more difficult and more important than ever.” Mrs. Obama went on to note the important contributions her own mother, Marian Robinson, has made to her life and her daughter’s lives—most notably the opportunity to have three generations living in the White House. The First Lady concluded by encouraging everyone in the room to share their stories and celebrate the extraordinary women in their lives. In honor of the women who shape our future generations, Happy Mother’s Day from Generations United!
-- Melissa Ness