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President and Mrs. Obama join Habitat for Humanity on National Day of Service and Remembrance to wrap up United We Serve initiative

Thousands serve their communities with Habitat throughout the summer

WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2009) – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama commemorated the Sept. 11 anniversary by volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity build site with AmeriCorps members and Habitat of Washington, D.C., staff. It was part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance that President Obama signed into law on Apr. 21, 2009.

The purpose of the day is to encourage Americans and people throughout the world to pledge to do an act of service on Sept.11 each year in honor of victims and those who served after the tragedy.

The National Day of Remembrance wrapped up a nationwide volunteer service initiative called, United We Serve.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Habitat for Humanity’s efforts around the world, and we are delighted to join other organizations and individuals to help celebrate the contributions they make in so many ways,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Their commitment to service not only inspires others, but it’s transforming hearts, lives and entire communities—their own as well as those they serve.”

Since the United We Serve launch, volunteers participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, an alternative school break program that offers youth opportunities to become involved in service to communities. Thousands of volunteers also joined United We Serve through Habitat’s “A Brush with Kindness,” a renovation program focusing on exterior home repair such as painting, landscaping and weatherization and exterior clean-up.

Habitat for Humanity helped more than 21,000 volunteers serve their communities through 335 volunteer projects during United We Serve.

Some Habitat affiliate builds included:

• More than 350 volunteers joined Habitat for Humanity Tucson to raise the walls on 59 homes during their annual Building Freedom Day.

• On June 22, 2009, Habitat for Humanity-New York City and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood helped kick-off United We Serve by helping to build a 41-multi unit building in Brooklyn.

• In St. Paul, Minn., volunteers worked on the 1,000th home repaired through Twin Cities Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness program.

• Thirty Fort Eustis soldiers rolled up their sleeves to help a Norfolk, Va., family through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .