Laird and I’s White House Visit

I was working out with my dear friend Kelly and she had a gentlemen join us by the name of David Washington (Liason for the White House administration).  Long story short I discovered that David worked with the White House in a philanthropic capacity.  Helping them get involved with private causes and bringing the players together. I told David if in anyway Laird and I could be of service to them let me know.

Within four weeks I find myself with my husband Laird heading to DC with my gracious host Kelly Meyer and David Washington.  We had the opportunity to watch President Obama address the joint session via the generosity of the Republican whip Mr. Eric Cantor.  That in itself was an intriguing experience.  Then the next day we met with so many young, intelligent, and passionate members of the President’s staff.  People who are dealing with the recovery plan, environment, getting the message of healthier living out to our citizens, finding ways to feed people healthier food and even a prevention and wellness initiative.  Wow, talk about an undertaking.  All of that is only about 1/5 of what they have on their plate. Imagine besides all the domestic issues of energy, natural resources they have a little thing called the war and an economic crisis going on.

Laird and I quickly realize that you can’t do anything, but THAT YOU CAN ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND GET INVOLVED.  The state of our health as a nation and the health of our planet is a disaster.  The government is an institution that is dysfunctional and whose efforts are not consolidated.  However, there are people within the government that truly do want to help change the course of our path and a huge amount of PRIVATE groups and individuals that are out there wanting to do the same.  To be honest I don’t think we have a choice anymore.  I believe all of us in any way we can need to get involved.  If it’s as simple as you go and clean up garbage once a month with your school and don’t leave your water running, so be it.  We are all connected, and as humans we have to start thinking this way.  I’m not standing on a box preaching about the world and the rich vs. poor.  I am simply saying that it may be a good idea as a collective group to start changing our ways inch by inch.

Ok, back to the White House.  Another high light of our visit was meeting up with Sam Kass the White House chef who has been with the first family since Chicago.  He is the picture of health and really reflects this new messaging of helping our fellow citizens be healthier.  Sam was kind enough to give us a tour of the White House garden planted by the First Lady, cut basil for a lunch he was prepping (yes, they really eat out of the garden), and took a peek at their bee hive.

I am back home now with a boat load of various emotions.  Inspired, and overwhelmed, but in the end we are just going to roll up our sleeves and figure out a way to make a difference.  I realize the White House can’t move quickly so we are looking to couple up with some interested corporations and go into communities of real need and start planting gardens, having safe places for kids to play (maybe existing boys and girls clubs, or the local Y’s) that need equipment, coaches, transportation etc.  Even if we just start with one community in one city we are moving ahead.  As we progress forward we will be in touch with some of the fine people in the White House to get their blessing and support.  Like anything this will have to be a group effort, and if in the end we only help a handful, amen.

I’m a girl who hit a volleyball for a living and jumps around a gym. This is a part of who I am and so I am giving in this way.  We all have our unique interests and gifts and I find this to be the best place to start when it comes to giving.  I’m not an overly intelligent girl, or artistic, I definitely can’t sing so this is the path I’m traveling down.

I hope to be heading back to Washington in the upcoming months with some solid game plans for things we have in motion.  Laird said to me on the plane that it’s a little bit like climbing a huge mountain and you can’t look up to the top and how far away the top is. You have to just look down and put one food in front of the other.  Pretty soon you look up and realize how far you have traveled.  Since the ultimate goal of the is to help us all be healthier and happier I believe this is true to life and even losing weight.  Don’t think “oh, I have to lose X amount of pounds”.  No, day by day and meal by meal you can get there.

I will keep you posted and if you have any constructive ideas please send them to me.  I have my eyes on Detroit as our first city, but please keep me abreast of things you are doing, what’s working, and what’s not.  Thanks and let us not forget our own power, and use that power to get involved, and create positive change.

By Gabby Reece