Red Dragons volunteer at local Head Start Program
Sgt 1st Class John D. Drummond, from the 2-306th, reading to children at the Head Start Program in Riceboro, Ga.

Riceboro, Ga. - The 2-306th Field Artillery Battalion Red Dragons, from the 188th Infantry Brigade,
First Army Division East, have partnered with the Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority, Inc. Liberty County Head Start Fatherhood program.

Members of 2-306th FA Battalion make weekly visits to their sponsored school and to interact with the nine classes of three to five-year-olds in the classroom during reading time, on the playground and during various activities throughout the year.

"They have been partners during the three years they have been working with our school," said Vicky Haynes, Liberty County Family Services Coordinator and Fatherhood Coordinator for the Head Start in nine counties and 10 centers. "The Soldiers have done a lot to supply positive male role models for the children, as well as providing them with consistency which is important for our children." Haynes said some of the children have expressed interest in becoming a Soldier when they grow up as a result of being involved in the program.

"When I first arrived it was mentioned that we sponsored a preschool, so I volunteered to participate in the program," said Sgt. 1st Class John D. Drummond, "This is nothing new for me. I enjoy working with the kids and giving back to the community.."

Demmentrice I. Jefferson, the only male teacher at the school, was pleased with the program and said the children were able to see more good male role models in the learning environment.

"In my class we talk about people in uniform being every day heroes. The program allows the children to have a hero read to them," said Teddra Jakes, preschool teacher.

"The kids really enjoy having the Soldiers in the classroom," said Deborah Scaife, preschool teacher. "The male figure attention is important, and having them read to the kids also stresses the importance of reading and education."

The Red Dragon volunteers also participate in various events throughout the year, including a walk-a-thon, read-a-thon, career day, hat-making day, kite-flying day, making Thanksgiving baskets for the needy and the annual barbeque.

The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16