First Lady Touts Service at TIME’s 100 Most Influential People Event

By Dschabner

May 5, 2009 10:02pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: First lady Michelle Obama was honored tonight as one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and said she is inspired by the "ability of one person to influence the outcome of someone else’s life."

"Events like this one show how truly connected our world is; how one person’s invention can create an entirely new economy; how one person can change how we see the world," she said.

TIME put together an eclectic list — other honorees included her husband, President Obama; "High School Musical" star Zac Efron, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; radio host Rush Limbaugh; Bernard Madoff and the creators of Twitter.

Michelle Obama noted that none of the evening’s honored guests arrived at this point on their own.

"Our success was made possible with the encouragement of a diligent parent or teacher, a grandparent who told us we had real talent, an older sibling who paved the way and set a good example, a scholarship or grant that created an unexpected opportunity, or a neighbor or community leader who told us to dream big," she said. "That’s certainly been the case in my own life."

In her remarks in New York, Obama focused on service and announced that through the recently signed Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the Obama administration has created a "Social Innovation Fund" to provide nonprofit groups and social entrepreneurs with financial support.

"The idea is simple: find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country," the first lady said. "By focusing on high-impact, results-oriented non-profits, we will ensure that government dollars are spent in a way that is effective, accountable and worthy of the public trust."

When she was in London last month, the first lady told a group of young girls at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language School that being smart was cool and it was education that got her to where she is today.

Throughout the first lady’s remarks at the school for underprivileged students, the girls cheered and clapped loudly for her and many wiped away tears.

Tonight, Obama spoke about her own status as a role model for young girls around the world.  "Girls who look at me and see something more for themselves, more than society expects of them. Girls who now think anything is possible," she said.

"As global leaders, let’s not underestimate the power each of us has to change the world for someone -– and let us not be afraid to try," the first lady said.

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