Late yesterday afternoon, Laura Bush joined former Dallas Cowboy Daryl Johnston and members of the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee to celebrate a project completed throughSLANT 45
, a kids' community service program funded by the host committee. A Girl Scout troop of 10-year-olds from Hockaday used their SLANT 45 money to refurbish and re-stock the library atBryan's House
, a special-care facility for sick kids and their families.
The former First Lady sat on a shady bench in the playground courtyard outside Bryan's House, where she read Read All About It!, the book she wrote with daughter Jenna about the magic of reading. The scouts, who told a wall of television cameras the project made them "feel good" and was "exciting," and Bryan's House kids sat at Mrs. Bush's feet while a horseshoe of proud moms, Super Bowl execs and Secret Service officers filled in the rest of the playground.
I spoke briefly with Bill Lively, the host committee CEO, about the project for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. "SLANT," for those who haven't been paying attention, stands for "service learning adventures in North Texas" and Lively called it the "conscience of the Super Bowl."
The project makes the football game "more substantial," he said. Groups of kids -- scout troops, church groups, schoolchildren -- get to choose their own projects, "not the adults" and promise to be part of 45,000 hours of community service between January 1, 2010 and the big game.
The program comes with $1 million in funding (for reference: the host committee's total game budget is somewhere around $30 million) and was developed with the help of Dallas-based Big Thought, with whom the Observer shares a Maple Avenue address.
Below, of course, are more photos of Mrs. Bush and the kiddos. (And here's where I apologize deeply to my mother for not recognizing Daryl Johnston during the entire time I stood next to him at the event. Thus, no photo. I bring shame upon my family. Deep, deep shame.)
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