Sunday, April 5, 2015

The White House Easter Egg Hunt - April 3, 1972

Children served by St. Francis House enjoying The White House Easter Egg Hunt, 
April 3, 1972
While working as a secretary in the speechwriting office of The White House from 1971 to 1973, a close friend/coworker and I volunteered several times a week at St. Francis House located on E St., N.E. near Capitol Hill. It was founded by Father Manning Moore, a court stenographer and Methodist who converted to Catholicism in his fifties with the goal of spending his retirement ministering in the inner city. My friend and I leveraged our influence as White House employees to create opportunities for children such as being invited to the White House Easter Egg Hunt, and generating financial and product donations from Giant Food and Peoples Drug stores for programs operated by Father Moore.

Father Gene (left) and Father Manning Moore (right), 
St. Francis House, Washington, D.C., 1972
After getting off work we often ate dinner with Father Moore, and Brothers Gene and Dennis, before beginning our volunteerism which included running a charm school for teen girls and producing a talent show called "Souled Out" for the neighborhood and inmates at Lorton Reformatory in Virginia (which preceded the D.C. Jail). We also started evening "Rap Sessions" between inmates who were escorted to St. Francis House to talk to teens with the goal of deterring them from illegal activities which could land them at Lorton. 

One night over dinner I remember Father Moore looking at my friend and me and saying, "You're such nice girls. . . what I can't understand is Why do you work for Nixon?!"

Ultimately, I resigned my White House job, moved to California,  finished up my degree at San Diego State University (changing major from journalism to sociology/criminology) and embarking on a career in social services, which included running a halfway house for ex-offenders. Subsequently, I returned to communications in both the private and public sectors promoting educational technology as a means of lifting children out of poverty.

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