News: 4th Force gets books into student hands
Story by Christine Cabalo
Marines from Kaneohe Bay’s 4th Force Reconnaissance Company donated hundreds of new books to Enchanted Lake Elementary School in Kailua.
The reserve Marines volunteer at the school as part of the Adopt-A-School program and run the Toys for Tots drive in Hawaii.
“Borders is one of our big partners and we get a lot of books from them,” said Staff Sgt. Rafael Arriaga Jr., Toys for Tots coordinator, 4th Force. “We donated about 750 books that were from last year’s Toys for Tots drive to Enchanted Lake.”
They met with the school’s junior police officers to coordinate a Toys for Tots drive and noticed the school’s need for new books. The donated collection includes a wide variety of picture books, hardcover novels and paperbacks.
“It was wonderful to receive the books,” said Barbara Huonker, the school’s Parent Community Networking Center coordinator. “Our librarian had the first choice and picked out several books.”
Teachers also had a crack at the collection, taking multiple copies of some titles to use in classroom libraries. The remaining copies, which include activity books with crafts for children, will be given away to students at several school events to encourage reading.
Several students have already taken home a few of the books as rewards, including 9-year-old Victoria Riddick. The fourth-grader said it feels great to have new books at home and in her school’s library.
“I usually come to the library to find new books I might like,” Riddick said. “I haven’t read the ‘N.E.R.D.S’ books, but my friends say they’re good. So I’ll check it out.”
The donation means a lot, said Riddick, whose father is a Marine stationed at K-Bay.
“It’s nice to get new books,” she said. “You see and read new books, then you can learn new things.”
Usually the school will fundraise to cover the expenses for new library books, Huonker said.
“We are so appreciative of this windfall of books,” the PCNC coordinator said. “Teachers have been able to fill up their classroom libraries with brand new books.”
The company’s donation to the school is just one of several ways they’ve assisted students. The reserve Marines have served as math tutors for fourth-grade classes and assisted with campus beautification projects. When the opportunity to donate came up, Arriaga said his company was eager to give the extra books that would have otherwise been unused in the Toys for Tots warehouse in Honolulu.
“We don’t want books to just get wasted or get damaged in storage or movement,” Arriaga said. “We try to make sure they reach a child by any means necessary and support our literacy program.”
For more information about Toys for Tots drop-off locations or upcoming events, see: http://kaneohe-bay-hi.toysfortots.org/.