Kids Set to Take Over the White House for a Day (Sort of)

PHOTO: First Lady Michelle Obama greets children after answering questions from Executive Office employees at the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the White House in Washington, DC, April 24, 2014. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama greets children after answering questions from Executive Office employees at the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the White House in Washington, DC, April 24, 2014.

Calling all kid presidents!

Having a parent who works at the White House is no longer a prerequisite for participating in “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The chance to spend a day “at work” at the White House used to be limited to the sons and daughters of staff who work there. But this year, on April 23, the president and first lady are also opening the White House gates to kids in the D.C. community who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.

“Every year, lots of kids are left out,” President Obama said in a web video, announcing the new twist to the long-held tradition of parents bringing their kids to work for a day. “Maybe they’re foster kids, or homeless, or struggling in school, or their parents don’t have jobs that allow them to bring their kids to work.”

The White House Council on Women and Girls and My Brother’s Keeper Initiative have teamed up with the local chapter of Boys and Girls Club and DC Child and Family Services to select candidates from some of Washington’s poorest and most at-risk communities, including foster kids and youth likely to drop out of high school.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington Vice President Michael McDonald said the day will be an “incredibly exciting” opportunity for some of the most at-need kids in the nation’s capital to dream big.

“The Boys and Girls Club is in the business of offering hope,” McDonald told ABC News. “What greater hope than to be president? And it’s that connection to these things you see on TV and on the nightly news -- these are real and real people who work there -- and I think that connection is going to be a really eye-opening opportunity for our kids.”

In years past, “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” at the White House have included a question and answer session with first lady Michelle Obama and activities with key White House staff. This year will also feature a question and answer segment with a senior-level official, who has yet to be announced, as well as career panels and lunch with senior staff members.

President Obama is calling on businesses and local governments across the country to join in on the effort to open “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” to a larger community of kids.

“We’re asking employers across the country to reach out to young people in your community who don’t have a workplace to visit,” Obama said. “Invite them to spend the day with you. Show them what you do every day – and tell them that, with hard work and determination, they can do it too.”

Agencies across the federal government, including the Justice and Treasury Departments, as well as some city governments and private businesses have already signed on to the White House-led initiative this year.

“Companies like Johnson & Johnson already do this, and the mayors of Philadelphia and Sacramento are joining us this year,” Obama said. “See if your employer will join us, too. ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day’ is already a special day for millions of kids across the country. Together, we can help more kids participate – so they, too, can dream bigger dreams about their futures.”