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Friday, March 4, 2016

At 106, She's Still Dancing And Serving Her Community

Centenarian Virginia McLaurin is pictured at NPR in Washington D.C. (Brandon Chew/NPR)

Centenarian Virginia McLaurin is pictured at NPR in Washington D.C. (Brandon Chew/NPR)

If you’ve seen the White House video of the 106-year-old dancing with President Obama and the First Lady, then you already know Virginia McLaurin.

Born in 1909 to a sharecropping family, she was married at the age of 14 and widowed with two children at 17. She’s lived through the Great Depression, segregation and the civil rights movement.

Part of what keeps Grandma Virginia young is working with her community’s youth. For 21 years, she helped children with severe disabilities learn skills, and she currently volunteers at a public charter school.

All this work comes through the United Planning Organization’s Foster Grandparent Program, which matches up senior citizens with students for tutoring and mentorship in the Washington, D.C. area.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Virginia McLaurin and Cheryl Christmas, project director for the UPO Foster Grandparent Program.

Photos from Virginia McLaurin's White House visit

photo
President Barack Obama watches First Lady Michelle Obama dance with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month, Feb. 18, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin during a photo line in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month, Feb. 18, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)President Barack Obama watches First Lady Michelle Obama dance with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month, Feb. 18, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Video: Virginia McLaurin dances at the White House

Video: Virginia McLaurin before meeting the president

Video: Virginia McLaurin watches the viral video

Guest

  • Virginia McLaurin, 106-year-old volunteer with the UPO Foster Grandparent Program.
  • Cheryl Christmas, project director for the UPO Foster Grandparent Program.

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