Service members make new friends
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Service members taught Japanese students English at Josho Hoikuen in Iwakuni City, Japan, during a community relations preschool event conducted by the Marine Memorial Chapel aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 10, 2015.
COMRELs give station residents a chance reach out to the local community by teaching them their native language.
According to Kenshawn McClurkin, a food service specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, the volunteers taught the children in a way they would enjoy, they used hands-on activities that not only helped the children learn, but also allowed them to interact with the children, which is a much more efficient way of building a bond with them.
“We came here to teach the children English through games and activities like dancing to the song ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ and reading picture books aloud to them,” said McClurkin. “This is also a great opportunity to build friendship between the U.S. and Japan.”
Service members volunteered to visit the preschool to share a cultural exchange with the Japanese students.
“Events like these are important because it shows the people of this country that we appreciate them for letting us live here and that we’re trying to give back,” said Pfc. Jonathan Davis, a food service specialist with H&HS.
Not all Japanese children are familiar with Americans, so visiting and interacting with them helps create a bond between the two.
“Visiting preschools is probably the best way to strengthen our friendship with Japan because these children are the next generation,” said Davis. “The current generation already has their own opinion on Americans whether it be good or bad, but these children don’t know much about us so this allows us to make a great first impression.”
Davis said his chain of command recommended him and other Marines to volunteer for this COMREL and he thought it would be a great opportunity.
“This was a good experience,” said Davis. “I hope these COMRELs continue to happen because they serve an important role in keeping a strong friendship with Japan in the future.”
For more information on opportunities to volunteer, contact the station chapel at 253-3371.