MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station residents visited Midoro Hoikuen in Iwakuni City, Japan, during a community relations preschool event coordinated by the Marine Memorial Chapel aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 19, 2015.
Volunteers began the morning with popular American dance-songs and games such as “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “The Hokey Pokey” and “Simon Says.”
Volunteers then separated into smaller groups with the students to teach the English alphabet and numbers, paint the children’s faces and play outdoors activities.
“Volunteering is fun and gives a good opportunity for service members to come out and learn the Japanese culture,” said Seaman Christa Williams, a boatswain’s mate striker with harbor operation. “I never volunteered when I was stateside and I’d like to take what I learned here back to the U.S.”
The chapel coordinates multiple COMREL events each month to give MCAS Iwakuni personnel a chance to be part of the growing relationship between the station and community.
“The most important factor of the visits is to keep the strong bond between MCAS Iwakuni and the local Japanese community,” said Noriko Yamada, an administrative specialist with the chapel. “We are ambassadors here and we should have the same respect as we do in our own country.”
This persistent interaction between volunteers and the Japanese community continues to solidify the U.S.-Japan relationship.
“Each service member that volunteers gains a sense of appreciation for what they’re a part of,” said Yamada. “I believe the Japanese see that we are honored to interact with them and learn about their culture, lifestyle, and history.
For more information on opportunities to volunteer, contact the station chapel at 253-3371.