News: Service members influence Japanese children
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station service members went to Josho Hoikuen Preschool as part of a community relations event July 17, 2012.
The purpose of the visit was to bolster relations with local Japanese. Approximately 32 volunteers participated in the event. The volunteers spent the majority of their time teaching the children English, using visual aids and coloring books, and singing songs.
“It’s always nice to give back and to instruct and teach anyone English or the basics of English,” said Roy A. Covington III, community relations volunteer. “Knowing little kids like music and teaching them songs that way is a lot of fun.”
The children, who were in the five-year-old and younger age range, quickly took to the volunteers as they were divided into three groups.
Along with teaching the children English, they also played the game, “Duck, duck, goose,” and the old children’s ditty “Head and
This event wasn’t merely for the children. The service members learned from the experience as well.
“This is good for the base and the Marine Corps.” said Covington. “It shows our host nation (that) not only are we were to do our job, but we also care about them.”
Even with a language barrier, volunteers and children were able to communicate.
Covington felt his interaction with the children was a change of pace as the children had a much firm grasp of English. He discovered this by using a song about the alphabet and animals to gauge their understanding of English.
Many service members may hesitate to participate in community-relations events, but the benefits of taking part in these activities far outweigh any excuse.
“Generally, Marines go out and go sight-seeing,” said Covington. “We never get to see the youth of Japan. Back in the states you see it every day. But if you’re stuck on base, you’re not going to see how the youth of Japan grow up. A lot of Marines don’t know the Japanese go to school year round.”
Marines are ambassadors, wherever they are stationed, at home or abroad. Events such as this give civilians, both foreign and domestic, an opportunity to not only appreciate what it is service members do, but also show that service members care about the community beyond their gates.