FLOTUS visits military children
By Senior Airman Jordyn Fetter, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 18, 2017
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- First Lady Melania Trump’s focus on the well-being of children led her to visit the youth center on Joint Base Andrews, Sept. 15, 2017.
During Trump’s visit, she interacted with approximately 30 children, toured the youth center and learned about their educational and social initiatives, while also expressing her support for their sacrifices to the country.
“I had the privilege to visit with some of your wonderful children at the youth center here on base,” Trump said. “I enjoy our time together, getting to know them, and want to thank everyone who helped make this visit possible.”
As first lady, she has focused on education for children by attending events like the one at JB Andrews, as well as sending out copies of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss, to schools across the country for National Read a Book Day.
These efforts led her to visit the base youth center, which offers various programs such as before and after school care, social recreation, sports and fitness and instructional programs for more than 800 children.
In 2015, the center became the only military installation in the continental U.S. to receive a grant to organize, implement and control a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Center of Innovation.
“Before and after school care is a mission program,” said Vincent Eure, the JB Andrews Youth Center director. “The purpose is for military members to leave their kids with us, worry-free, knowing that they can go to work and complete their no-fail mission. We showed the first lady what we do and how we’re tied to the mission by supporting military members downrange and on base.”
To showcase these values to Trump, the youth center planned a class project for her to take part in with the children as well as a STEM exhibit consisting of snap circuits demonstrating how electricity works, a paper airplane tutorial and flight simulator display.
The first lady has a history of advocating for children, having been an honorary chairwoman for The Boy's Club of New York for five consecutive years. She also participated in the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day in conjunction with the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April 2008, as well as publicly pledging to combat cyberbullying among children.
“The first lady was amazing,” said Bryce Elazier, an Imagine Andrews student. “I was really, really happy that she came because she is really important and I like to hang around important people.”
The programs available for military children help promote the Air Force’s stance on taking care of Airmen and their families by providing services to build and maintain a strong community.
“Every child whose parent serves in our great military should be enormously proud because your mom or dad is a true American hero,” Trump said. “I also want to take a moment to recognize the families of those who serve. You endure the time apart, are expected to move when new orders come in, and face the uncertainty that came in the times of need. This kind of lifestyle requires its own kind of courage, and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”