Obamas mark MLK's birthday by volunteering

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Malia (second from left) work at the Browne Education Center in Washington, D.C., on January 16, 2012, to take part in a community service project in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and his family are marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a volunteer service project at a local school.

The Obamas joined other volunteers Monday morning at the Browne Education Campus in the District of Columbia.

In brief remarks Monday, the president said there is no better way to celebrate King's life "than to do something on behalf of others."

Mr. Obama said, as Dr. King had, that everyone can act as "a drum major" for service and for justice.

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"There's nobody who can't serve, nobody who can't help somebody else," the president said. "And whether you're 7 or 6, or whether you're 76, you can find opportunities to make an enormous difference in your community.

"At a time when the country has been going through some difficult economic times, for us to be able to come together as a community, people from all different walks of life, and make sure we're giving back, that's ultimately what makes us the strongest, most extraordinary country on Earth - because we pull together when times are good, but also when times are hard."

After greeting volunteers, the president and his family helped build bookshelves in the school's library.


"If you're putting a paint brush in my hands, make sure that I've got some very clear lines, and I'll try to stay within them," he joked.

This is the third year in a row the Obamas have participated in a service project on King's holiday.