Inaugural weekend starts with service event for Obama, Biden

President Obama and his family participated in a community service project in Washington, D.C. on Saturday as part of a National Day of Service ahead of the inauguration.

The first family joined roughly 500 volunteers in completing a school makeover at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, according to a pool report. The event was coordinated by the service organization City Year.

"As I look around the room, I see friends from all across the country, people who have been such great supporters of ours, but more importantly, everybody here—adults to children—understand the importance of giving back," Obama said in remarks given to volunteers in the school's gym, per the pool report.

He later added that the inauguration "is a symbol of how our democracy works" and it "should also be an affirmation that we're all in this together."

While at the school, the president and the first lady helped volunteers stain a wooden, multi-tiered shelf. Obama commented that the first lady said he "did a fine job" staining the shelf.

"This is a weekend of celebration, but through it all we have to remember that the reason why we're here...is because a lot of people worked hard and supported us," Mrs. Obama told volunteers, according to the pool report. "And we've got a job to do."

The first lady also encouraged young people to continue volunteering and giving back to their communities.

"The goal is as you make your way through life, who are you pulling up with you? And as long as you're pulling somebody up with you, you're doing the right thing," she said.

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Vice President Joe Biden, along with Dr. Jill Biden and other family members, took part in a community service project organized by volunteer group Points of Light at the D.C. Armory as the event-filled inauguration weekend got underway. The vice president and his family helped volunteers pack 100,000 care kits filled with necessities, such as toothbrushes and Band-Aids, for deployed service members, veterans, injured service members and first responders, according to a pool report.

While giving brief remarks at the service event, the vice president said while only 1 percent of the nation was serving their country, the 99 percent back home owe them their gratitude.

Biden added that Martin Luther King Jr. inspired "this notion of absolute service."

"We have to move back to reaching out to people," he said, according to the pool report.

Biden also voiced optimism for the country during President Obama's second term in office. 

"I think we're on the cusp of doing some really great things," he said.

For the past few years, the Obama family has honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by participating in a community service project. This week Obama encouraged people to participate with him in the day of service via Twitter.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will host a Kids Inaugural Concert Saturday evening at the Washington Convention Center that will honor military families. Invited guests at the concert include families of active duty, reserve and retired service members.

--This report was originally published at 10:32 a.m. and last updated at 1:38 p.m.


More from The Hill:
• At halftime of his presidency, Obama looks to lessons of first four years
• Poll: Voters pessimistic as Obama prepares for second inauguration
• Inauguration festivities list