By 2nd Lt. Meilyn Rivera
8th Special Troops Battalion

Aiea, Hawaii - Soldiers from the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command volunteered at Gustav H. Webling Elementary School to support the annual Jump Rope 4 Heart event February 21 in Aiea, Hawaii.

Webling Elementary hosts Jump Rope 4 Heart to promote the importance of exercise and health. The event consists of six stations that include games, relays and team-building exercises. Volunteers from the community and Soldiers worked together to show the students how much fun being active can be.

The event began with a warm-up dance and each section demonstrating their event. Children rotated through the different stations that included jump rope, a relay race, water cup race, clean the yard, over under, and transferring a golf ball on a spoon. Starting with kindergarten and rotating through 6th Grade, every grade level had the opportunity to soak up the sun while exercising with the volunteers.

The relationship between the 8th STB and Webling is part of U.S. Army-Hawaii's Partnership of Ohana Community Relations Program, which gives units the ability to build close relationships through mentorship, tutoring and other volunteer opportunities in the communities that support them.

When asked about the importance of volunteering, Staff Sgt. Deandra Adams, a special general staff noncommissioned officer with the 8th STB said, "A lot of people see Soldiers, but they don't know what we do or understand how the military operates, so [volunteering] just builds the comradery between the community and the service."

Staff Sgt. Jamal Rogers, the material management NCO with the 8th STB also had a similar reason on why he believes volunteering is good for everyone involved.

"Volunteering was fun, I like to see kids smiling and enjoy their time outside of the classroom," he said. "I think it's important for Soldiers to participate because I believe it gives the kids a better understanding that we care."

Soldiers also had the opportunity to help serve lunch and sit with the students to talk about how they were enjoying the day.
Christine Haramura, Webling Elementary's Volunteer Coordinator, was enthusiastic with the outcome of the event.

"I think it's important for the Soldiers to volunteer because the kids can see the association with the outside community and know that they have that support," she said. "It also shows that it's good to volunteer and hopefully when they grow up they will be volunteers as well and have just as much fun."