First Lady Michelle Obama told workers at Corporation for National and Community service today that community service is "the reason that I breathe." "It has become my life's work in so many ways," she said. Mrs. Obama visited the federal agency as part of her larger federal agencies "listening" tour. In an auditorium filled with employees, she spoke about a turning point in her professional life when she realized her work as a high powered attorney wasn't the legacy she wanted to leave behind. "When I thought about the things I cared about, the things I was passionate about, service was always in there." "I could be some rich lawyer somewhere," she joked, saying if she'd stuck with that, she'd instead be writing checks to the Obama campaign. As she has on all of her federal agency visits, the First Lady thanked the workers. "Your commitment is an inspiration" she told them. She said that while to many Americans "it may seem impossible to squeeze even more time out of the day," she encouraged them to volunteer. "It is an opportunity to put your faith into action in a way that regular jobs don't allow."
Mrs. Obama said that community service was a good teaching tool for parents. In her own family, "in many ways, this [presidential] campaign has been a family service initiative for us." She said supporting the president has been a wonderful way for the entire family to come together. The First Lady also praised the recently passed Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which will expand the number of AmeriCorp volunteers from 75,000 to 250,000 by 2017. She spoke about the expanded service opportunities it will bring in a number of areas, including senior citizens. She said she knows judging by her own mother, seniors have a lot to contribute. "Let me tell you with my mom, we've got to keep her moving and this bill will help us to capture that energy," she said with a smile. For those on FLOTUS fashion watch: Mrs. Obama wore a black knee-length dress, with short black cardigan.