First lady Melanie Trump concluded her three-state trip tour as part of her “Be Best” campaign. Here is a summary of her campaign and what she did in each state.
What Is ‘Be Best?’
“Be Best” is a campaign meant to raise awareness of issues surrounding children’s, “social, emotional, and physical health.” It aims to promote and highlight organizations, programs and the people that work to improve the livelihoods of kids, to help them grow up in a safe and productive environment.
Last year, Mrs. Trump took her campaign to Ghana, where she visited hospitals and daycares that were teaching mothers about raising their newborns. She also went to Malaw to talk to Chipala Primary School about how USAID was working to make education more accessible to them.
The first lady brought her campaign to her own country, where she focused her tours on American education, new technology to assist children in their everyday lives, and efforts to protect them from the opioid crisis. She travelled to three states to address those issues: Oklahoma, Washington state, and Nevada.
On Monday, Mrs. Trump travelled to Tulsa, OK to visit the Dove School of Discovery, a K-12 charter school focused on teaching, “math, science, engineering, and computer technologies to provide opportunities for underserved communities.”
Thank you to the teachers, leadership & students of DOVE School of Discovery in Tulsa for welcoming me today. There is great work being done! It is so important that education includes not only academics, but the importance of a strong sense of character & values. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/sRRMMASrlx— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 4, 2019
Dove School adopted the “11 Principles of Effective Character Education” from the Character.org organization. Principal Maureen Brown said that character education is integrated with their curriculum.
“You see a lot of group work here because students learn collaboration and being respectful of others’ opinions,” Brown said.
The first lady visited three classrooms at the school to talk to students about the importance of teamwork, respect, and hard work.
“I’m sure you’re working hard and studying hard,” she said to second graders in one classroom.
“Yeah, but I wish homework wasn’t a thing. Like, come on!” one of the kids told her.
“Oh, you wish to not have homework? I’m sure everybody wishes that. But you need to study,” she responded. “You want to be smart and you want to read a lot and study so that’s very important. You take an hour at home and study and do homework so you prepare for the next day.”
Washington State- Technology
On the same day, Mrs. Trump took a plane to Redmond, WA to visit Microsoft, who demonstrated their efforts to make their products more accessible and safe for kids. The first lady also visited to bring awareness to cyberbullying issues.
Microsoft President Brad Smith, who visited Trump, said that the company desires to work with the administration where it’s appropriate.
“We’ve always said that we’ll partner where we can, we’ll stand apart where we should,” Smith said. “We have days when we disagree with this administration, just as we’ve had days where we’ve disagreed with other administrations, but today was a day where we could stand together to underscore an important message.”
On the Microsoft campus, Smith showed the first lady systems that the Xbox uses to make gaming safer and more accessible to children. These include parental controls and the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a device used to allow people with different types of disabilities to play.
Jacqueline Beauchere, the chief online safety officer for Microsoft, also showed Trump what the company is doing to keep children safe when on the internet.
“We need to educate the parents as well,” Trump said. “Maybe some of them, they don’t even know about it and they just let their kids play. This is very, very informative.”
Nevada- Drug Abuse
Trump made one last trip to Las Vegas, NV that same day, and on Tuesday she went to an opioid town hall at the Westgate Hotel.
“The United States is by far the largest consumer of opioids,” she told attendees and viewers on social media. “Using more pills per person than any other country in the world. In fact, overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999 and now account for the majority of fatal drug overdoses.”
At the meeting, Trump said she focused on how drug addiction affects newborns. She pointed to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a series of symptoms a baby suffers when they’re no longer exposed to the drugs their mothers took while they were in the womb.
“After they are born,” Trump said. “These innocent babies endure nausea, pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, and trouble eating – the same as adults who undergo detox. We must do all that we can to educate young mothers on the dangers of abusing drugs and I encourage medical facilities around the country to implement programs such as the Maternal Addiction, Treatment, Education and Research program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
The first lady assured attendees that the president views the epidemic as a national crisis. She said that President Trump declared it a public health emergency and, “directed all executive agencies to use every appropriate emergency authority to fight this crisis.”
Mrs. Trump made it clear that the fight against addiction doesn’t stop with the federal government. She encouraged people to look beyond the tropes of drug addiction, and to educate themselves on the issue so they can help others combat it. She also pressed the news media to use their voices to raise awareness.
“I have said this before – but it bears repeating,” she said. “While you may never personally become addicted, the chances of you knowing someone who struggles with it are high. And if you, or someone you know needs help, please be brave enough to ask, or strong enough to stand with them as they fight through the disease. Please educate yourselves so you know the signs of addiction, and also feel secure enough to talk about it, and keep talking about it until help arrives.”