Friday marks her 107th birthday.
In the weeks following the viral video, the matriarch has received praise and love for her enthusiasm and vitality. For McLaurin, positivity and service to her community is what keeps her cheerful enthusiasm in full supply.
McLaurin’s visit to the White House came about thanks to the United Planning Organization’s Foster Grandparent Program’s online campaigning, an organization she has been a part of for over 20 years. At the program, the elderly are given a chance to spread their kindness and knowledge to low-income elementary public and charter school students in the Washington D.C. area. McLaurin’s class is composed of special needs and disabled children who call her “Grandma Virginia.”
McLaurin’s previous jobs included a housekeeper, nanny, and seamstress. Born in 1909, the South Carolina native later moved to North Carolina during segregation. When she wasn’t caring for her two children, she helped her parents on the cotton and peanut fields. She later adopted a third child, opening up her heart and family.
But on Friday, McLaurin was able to relax as she received gifts for her birthday. Cheryl Christmas, director of the Foster Grandparent program, helped put together a “Let’s Dance” surprise birthday celebration for the special lady. The luncheon welcomed 300 guests and was hosted by WHUR-FM’s Tony Richards, Mo Ivory, and George Willborn.
Howard University Radio and Bob’s Discount Furniture gifted McLaurin with a $5,000 home makeover. She was also given a special gift from President Obama himself–a Presidential Medal of Honor for her community service.
Speaking with NewsOne, McLaurin shared the key to happiness, her favorite dancing jams, and her special moments with the First Family.
Check out the interview below.
NO: What does it mean for you to mentor the children in your community?
“Oh, it means a lot to me. I love children. That’s what keeps me young.”
Name three things needed to maintain a positive life.
“Treat people like you want to be treated, love everybody, and serve the Lord.”
What’s a song you’d like to dance to on your big day?
“James Brown’s “On the Good Foot,” “Mashed Potatoes” and [everything] BB King!”
What was your favorite thing about meeting Barack Obama and Michelle Obama?
“That I danced with him and how happy it made me to live long enough to get into the White House. It brought joy to my heart and soul.”
What’s the secret to living a long life? What are five things you can’t live without?
“Serve the Lord, live humble, treat people the way I want to treated, fill your life with love everyday loving people…especially children. The Lord gave me a long life and I appreciate He let me live this long.”
Happy birthday, Grandma McLaurin!
PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter, Corporation for National and Community Service