Back in May of 2018, after almost a year of careful planning, First Lady Melania Trump announced her “Be Best” campaign, which focuses on the well-being of youths, cyberbullying, and opioid abuse. On Monday, Trump left Washington for a road trip to promote this campaign, visiting places like the Dove School of Discovery in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, and Las Vegas in Nevada. This is her first solo domestic trip ever since moving into the White House and her campaign has been fiercely criticized by mainstream media outlets due to her husband’s immigration policies and fiery behavior on Twitter.
The main pillar of the Be Best campaign is promoting values such as kindness, encouragement, and well-being. Melania’s goal is to equip parents, teachers, and adults with the necessary tools to prepare their children with some of those values for their future. According to the White House website, establishing these values equips children and youths with the tools needed to deal with the opioid crisis and hostile social media activity. Melania visited the Dove School of Discovery which incorporates character development into its curriculum where she spoke about teamwork, kindness, and about being diligent for school. Later that day she visited Microsoft in Washington state where Dave McCarthy, the general manager of Microsoft Games, taught her about parental controls and adaptive controllers for disabled kids for Xbox gaming consoles.
The social media aspect of her campaign is geared towards teaching children how to have positive online behaviors so that social media can be used for positive change. With an constantly growing digital world, it is becoming more prominent in the lives of younger children, and Trump wants children to be well-educated when exposed to it. Additionally, she firmly believes in educating adults to teach their children how to reinforce positive online behavior and how to speak with respect and compassion either verbally or online.
According to DoSomething, almost half of all kids have been bullied online, and 70% of students witness it frequently online. With nearly 80% of teens using a cell phone regularly, they have become the most common media for cyber bullying. Melania wants to educate children on safe online behavior and to use technology for positive practices instead of bad ones.
The final prong of her campaign is the campaign against drug abuse, particularly opioids. Opioid addiction has been ramping up within the past few years with nearly 130 people overdosing per day, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse. Although Congress has passed legislation, it still largely remains a huge problem, especially in the family unit. Melania Trump aims at tackling the issue by bringing attention to neonatal abstinence syndrome and educating adults on the important of healthy pregnancies, where opioid abuse can cause critical damage.
In Vegas, Trump spoke at a town hall meeting in Vegas regarding the issue. She urges parents to talk about the presiding issue of drugs and how dangerous they can be. She even slammed the media that the issue is not being given the attention it deserves. However, she also said that if the Be Best campaign gets even one person to talk about any of the underlying issues, then her campaign has been successful.