Melania Trump Makes Rare Post-White House Outing to 'Wonderful' Local Foster Care Organization

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  • Melania Trump
    Melania Trump
    Former First Lady of the United States
  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
Melania Trump
Melania Trump

twitter Melania Trump (right) at 4KIDS

While her husband continues to dominate Republican politics with election conspiracies and a relentless focus on who is and is not supporting him, Melania Trump spent her Thanksgiving holiday another way: making a rare public appearance for a special cause.

The former first lady, 51, went Wednesday to the local office of the foster care organization 4KIDS. Her office says she spent two hours at the Palm Beach branch, not far from the Trumps' Mar-a-Lago Club, where she and former President Donald Trump have largely been living since leaving the White House.

"Mrs. Trump spent time visiting with young foster children and engaging in a craft activity," her office says. "She then had a discussion with young adults who aged out of foster care who live in the 4Kids independent living homes."

The former first lady also "toured the organization's therapeutic center where the facility provides clinical services for kids and families who need extra support, therapy and healing, as well as trauma-informed training for parents and care givers," her office says.

In a Thanksgiving tweet, she lauded 4KIDS and its "wonderful network": "Your work is inspirational," she wrote.

In addition to its foster care facilities, 4KIDS provides therapy and other support programs as well as housing for young adults who have aged out of the system.

Melania Trump
Melania Trump

twitter

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Melania Trump
Melania Trump

twitter Melania Trump (left) at 4KIDS

Mrs. Trump's office also noted how her outing this week was in keeping with her work in the East Wing on her "Be Best" initiative, promoting child welfare and anti-bullying (though that work also had its share of critics, because of her husband's habit of attacking people on social media).

"Mrs. Trump has always been passionate about spreading kindness and compassion in communities at home and abroad," her office says. "This visit shows her ever-evolving commitment to highlighting the people and organizations who are making a difference in their community and going above and beyond to establish a foundation and provide opportunity to our nations children."

In a statement, a rep for 4Kids said they were "honored to host Mrs. Trump in our Palm Beach office to share how we are bringing hope, homes, and healing to kids and families."

"Our families and young adults were blessed to share their stories and experiences with her during the visit," the statement continued. "We are thankful for how generous Mrs. Trump was with her time and for blessing our guests with gifts for Thanksgiving."

Since her husband's term ended in late January — weeks after the Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters — Mrs. Trump has eschewed the spotlight, making only occasional appearances while traveling between Florida, New Jersey and New York.

Sources told PEOPLE earlier this year that she has little appetite for returning to politics, despite her husband's constant hints at a 2024 campaign.

Melania Trump
Melania Trump

twitter Melania Trump (right) at 4KIDS

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As a press-shy first lady, Mrs. Trump faced both significant scrutiny and curiosity — as when she wore an "I Really Don't Care" jacket while visiting migrant children (which she claimed was actually a message for the press) or during one of her occasionally awkward interactions with President Trump, 75.

She also complained privately that she felt stuck between the ceremonial obligations of her role and the backlash caused by some of her husband's most divisive policies.

"Melania does not like being in the public eye and has made it clear that she isn't interested in doing it again," one political source told PEOPLE in September.

"She likes family and her private life," the source added. "The media glare is not for her."

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