MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Mentoring is not a new concept for Marines, so when the opportunity to give back to local youth through mentorship presented itself, more than 25 Marines jumped at the chance.
Staff Sgt. Juana DeLosSantos, equal opportunity advisor, Marine Corps Logistics Command, leads the Mentors in Action initiative with International Studies Elementary Charter School, Albany, Ga.
“The Marines will be volunteering one or two hours a week to establish positive relationships with students they have been assigned,” she said. “Marines are great role models and for many children, they live in single-parent homes, so this is a great way for Marines to get involved with local youth and share their knowledge and experiences.”
DeLosSantos said the Marines will be going to the school on a regular basis to see how the students are doing, ask about their day, assist with homework and in any other capacity they can.
Dr. Zeda George, head of schools, ISECS, said having the Marines come back as mentors is like having a friend that went away and came back full circle.
“We know the Marines help keep us safe, but to have them here in our school working with our boys and girls says a lot about their dedication, commitment to excellence, our neighborhood and our public schools,” she said.
“We want them here and love what they stand for. It will be good for our students to see it modeled so they can act in kind,” George added.
She said Marines previously served as mentors several years ago and were instrumental in helping the former Mock Road Elementary School become a charter school in 2005.
“Their presence then and now was very positive for the children who looked up to them,” George said. “We are elated they are back and look forward to working with them.”
During his address, Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, urged the mentors to not just set the example, but to be the example.
“It means a lot to be involved with the future of tomorrow and since the Marine Corps is a worldwide force, we are happy to be a part of giving back and sharing our international experiences,” Davis said.
“We (Marines) serve as ambassadors for the Corps and helping the students understand cultural diversity, how to treat others with respect and serving as role models is just one way for us to give back to the community we are a part of,” he added.