Do you blow up stuff? What’s that medal on your uniform with the star on it mean? How do I join the Navy?
[caption id="attachment_3173" align="alignright" width="300"]
Jacklyn Jones from the NAVSUP Global Logistics Support reads to one of the children from Golden Hill School. Photo by Kim Longstaff
These were just a few questions asked by students from Golden Hill School to the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Global Logistics Support (GLS) volunteers at the inaugural “Personal Excellence Partnership” event. The new program started by the NAVSUP GLS Commander, Rear Admiral James McNeal, matches mentors from the command with students in kindergarten through 8th grade at the school.
“After a visit to NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego last year, and after hearing about all of the great community service projects they are involved in, I asked my team to establish a Navy community service program here at NAVSUP GLS,” said McNeal.
During the first partnership event called “Family Friday,” Golden Hill School Co-Principal, Susan Devicariis, introduced the new Personal Excellence Partnership to parents of the students participating in the program and the nearly 20 NAVSUP GLS volunteers who attended the assembly. Rear Adm. McNeal then presented a certificate to the school to commemorate the command’s commitment to building and growing a long-term mentorship and service partnership with the school.
The NAVSUP GLS volunteers were assigned to different grades and sent off to their classrooms to start their introductions and reading with the children.
“I had a great time at the school today,” said George Quillopo, one of the volunteers from NAVSUP GLS Business Operations. “I felt like I really connected with the kids and it was refreshing to see the students so excited about school. It was a crucial example of how little it costs us to make a difference in a child’s day.”
“My volunteer experience at the Golden Hill brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart because I was able to interact with the sweetest 3rd graders,” said Ruby McGill, also from NAVSUP GLS Business Operations. “I’m looking forward to next month so the children and I can finish reading, ‘Secret Garden’.”
Jacklyn Jones from the Comptroller Department also found her volunteer work rewarding. “Even chatting with one little girl for just 45 minutes made my long work week, well worth it,” she said. “While Maxine and I read, I saw her improving with every page. As I read in character, she started to read in character. Not being a strong reader myself, I’ve learned the importance of slowing down and understanding what I just read. On some of the pages, we’d stop and talk about the bigger words and what they meant. Soon, instead of me asking her if she knew what something meant she’d start asking on her own when she didn’t recognize a word.”
[caption id="attachment_3174" align="alignleft" width="300"]
Joseph Renteria from NAVSUP Global Logistics Support enjoys his volunteer time with the children at Golden Hill School. Many of the children were interested on how they could prepare to join the Navy. Photo by Kim Longstaff
The Golden Hill School’s population is approximately 450 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. This is the first year the school has started teaching in English and Spanish languages. The school’s goal is for all students to be fluent in both languages by the time they graduate from eighth grade.
“One of the students was surprised I spoke Spanish and that they were just like me,” said Logistics Specialist Second Class Nancy Cid from the NAVSUP GLS Logistics Management Program Office. “I know many kids don’t know what options may be out there and spending some time out of my day to tell them about what I know and what I’ve seen can go a long way.”
“We are very excited about starting this initiative,” said Terry Cerami, NAVSUP GLS Command Coordinator. “We will meet with the students every third Friday of the month for Family Friday and plan to attend award assemblies and eighth grade graduation in July.”
NAVSUP GLS officially started the Personal Excellence Partnership with Golden Hill School in collaboration with San Diego Unified School District with a formal signing of a memorandum of understanding between with Co-Principal Devicariis and Rear Adm. McNeal.