DJIBOUTI - More than two dozen military volunteers piled into shuttles for the chance to improve a local community's facility and interact with Djiboutian youth May 8, 2010.

Camp Lemonnier's Community Assistance Volunteers (CAV) organization planned the event a few weeks back so that military members could help enhance one of Djibouti city's 26 career development centers with fresh paint and supplies.

"The focus was to help improve the grounds where the local children learn and play," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerrod Jerrolds, the CAV president.

The Savannah, Tennessee native said plenty of people volunteered so everyone could split into teams to focus on the several projects planned. Some painted over graffiti that covered one of the walls while other volunteers delivered numerous boxes of school supplies that were both donated and purchased with the organizations funds.

Another team of volunteers installed a new soccer goal net while volunteers from the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion welded the other goal's broken frame so it was no longer a safety hazard.

The president of the center expressed his appreciation for the visit.
"It is not the first time Americans came here to help us," said Mohamed Gaas Idriss. "This is a good thing for us."

It wasn't all hard work. A visit only occurs when people interact and many volunteers took turns playing soccer and basketball with the youth present. While the games could be competitive, it was all fun and games under the hot sun.

"Whenever we go on these visits, the children school us on soccer but often look to us for playing in basketball," said Legalman 1st class Carin Deitler, CAV Secretary.

Volunteers weren't the only group enhancing the center that day. Additional support came from the contractor PAE and the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 7 Seabees who loaned the paint and welding equipment for the visit.

The CAV, which is open to everyone, is planning to visit the center again for other improvements such as adding basketball nets and repainting lines for the court there.

The CAV is also looking into visiting other areas in the local community such as orphanages.

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