SAN DIEGO -- Marines with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 16 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 268 mentored students at Morning Creek Elementary School, Nov. 5.
These Marines come out every Wednesday to Mrs. Amy P. Budde’s 2nd grade class.
“It was an idea I came up with 10 years ago from my love of the Marine Corps,” said Budde. “The Marines that come here are great positive role models for the kids, it’s outstanding.”
Budde grew up with a brother who joined the Marine Corps and also married a Marine, both being pilots for the Corps. Her positive experience with Marines and their values became something she wanted to share with the children she teaches on a day-to-day basis. Activities she plans out for the Marines and the kids include different teaching lessons and physical activities, like sports or a variety of physical challenges.
“It’s fun coming out here and helping these kids,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob Miles, a flight equipment technician with MALS-16. “We get to not only help these kids out in school, but at the end of each day, we get to tell them what we do as Marines. These kids are always so excited to learn about us, always asking questions about what we do.”
Most of the volunteers are male, which helps support the students with positive male role models according to Budde.
“There are some kids that go through this classroom that don’t have a positive male role model, if any,” said Budde. “Having these Marines here provides them that role model. Not only that, but it shows that they’re not just about guns and war, but also about helping out their communities in any way they can.”
Some Marines that come out and support even earn the volunteer service medal just from their time helping out these kids. Marines such as Cpl. Paa Kwesi “P.K.” Coleman, an aviation supply and accounting specialist with MALS-16 is one of them.
“I’ve been helping at this school since 2009,” said Coleman. “I love working with these kids, it’s very rewarding and feels good giving back to our community.”
The connection between these students and the Marine volunteers has grown deeply since their service started.
“The volunteers are like an extended family to us,” said Budde. “Their help is the highlight of my 20 years of teaching.”