News: Teens throw block party for Fort Bliss community
Story by Sgt. Terence Ewings
FORT BLISS, Texas - The Fort Bliss Milam Youth Activity Center hosted their 2nd Annual Block Party celebrating the Month of the Military Child, April 21.
The festive event, which was coordinated by the staff and Fort Bliss teens at the MYAC, was conducted to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the installation’s military youth.
“We just want to give back to the community that already gives us so much,” said Michael J. Dunn Jr., the ‘for age’ president at the MYAC.
Founded in August of 2010, the MYAC is a middle school and teen center that allows the youth of Fort Bliss a creative place to learn and grow.
Since opening almost two years ago, teens at the center have taken every opportunity to give back and volunteer around the community that reached out to them.
“As a military kid, we know sometimes it’s hard to find a place to fit in or have somewhere to hang out, and this place provides us that and a lot more,” said Dunn, the fourteen-year-old whose father is currently an enlisted service member serving in the 1st Armored Division. “Hosting this party is our way of sharing what we have with the other kids on Fort Bliss.”
Accompanied by their parents, infants, toddlers and school-age children arrived at the party on East Fort Bliss to partake in the free food, games and moon bounces.
In addition to the games and dunk tank, which were all run by the MYAC staff and teens, the Fort Bliss Fire Department and Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, also volunteered their services as they offered open tours of their tactical vehicles, which were on static display.
“This event is the definition of the selfless service vows we instill in all our Soldiers,” said Staff Sgt.Danilo M. Martinez, an infantryman assigned to the 1-77th Armor Bn., and native of San Diego, Calif.
Martinez and his soldiers provided military humvees, howitzers and tanks for the static display. During the event the children were able to climb inside the vehicles and have a firsthand look at what their military parents view on a daily basis.
“We just wanted to give the kids a taste of what their parents get to ride and travel in,” said Martinez. “But us being able to volunteer here and augment this event is just our way of thanking the kids for standing by us and supporting us in what we do.”
The MYAC teens concluded their block party event with a three-hour after party and dance that ran late into the evening.
“This center has been open for about a year and a half, but these kids have come far,” said Susan Goss, the director of the Fort Bliss MYAC. “These young adults in the making, stay involved in community projects like this and are dedicated to helping out others and giving back to Fort Bliss.”
In addition to regularly hosting holiday parties and dances, the MYAC also offers fitness training, art exhibits and culinary competitions that are open for all Fort Bliss community members to observe or participate in.
“The kids here at the MYAC are really the heart of this program, and they’re showing everyone at Fort Bliss that they’re not just teenagers; their young adults and future leaders,” said Goss.