JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - The Close-Up Foundation is seeking Marine volunteers to speak to students about life in the military at a series of upcoming educational seminars.

Close-Up is a non-profit organization that works with middle- and high school-aged students to help them learn about the workings of the democratic process, the federal government and the military. During trips to the National Capital Region, students meet government officials and military service members, and visit federal buildings and monuments in Washington, D.C.

Since its inception in 1971, Close-Up has had 800,000 students participate.

Marine volunteers will speak to students on a joint service panel, according to Hattie Powell-Ray, public affairs specialist for the Marine Corps.

Panelists are expected to talk generally about military operations, the career opportunities military service can provide and what life is like serving one's country, Powell-Ray said.

The seminars, which last an hour, include a question-and-answer session. In the past, students have asked service members questions about women in the military and general information about national security and combat experience, she said.

While the Close-Up program provides service members an opportunity to help youths, it's also a great way for them to hone their public speaking skills and to do some volunteer work, she said.

"It gives them an opportunity to get brushed up on their volunteerism," Powell-Ray said. "This type of program is excellent for service members to put themselves out there."

The Close-Up panels can also be a good recruitment tool, Powell-Ray said, because young people interested in enlisting can get first-hand knowledge from men and women currently serving.

The panels will require a time commitment of 90 minutes from volunteers; panelists will need to arrive 15 minutes early for the hour-long seminar, and then give themselves an extra 15 minutes at the end for one-on-one time with the students for more questions and photo opportunities.

Marine officers with ranks from first lieutenant to major and enlisted Marines with ranks from sergeant to first sergeant/master sergeant are eligible to participate. Marines who volunteer will report to the Women in Military Services for America (WIMSA) Memorial Auditorium at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery. Volunteers should wear their Service "C" uniforms.

The seminars will run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., and volunteers are needed for the following dates: Feb. 18; March 4, 11, 25; April 1, 15, 29; May 13, 20, 27 and June 10.

Marines interested in participating should contact Hattie Powell-Ray at (703) 692-1528 or