By Mrs. Christina L Peterson (Regional Health Command Pacific)May 21, 2018
OKINAWA, Japan -- Soldiers from Public Health Activity-Japan, Okinawa Branch, Japan, were provided a unique opportunity to volunteer at a local preschool April 26 in Yomitan, Okinawa.
Spc. Isaiah Benberry, Spc. Temujin Benton and Spc. Kathy Bounkanha, volunteered with the local preschool in Yomitan. They said they enjoyed the experience and were able to introduce American games and activities to the Japanese preschoolers.
Benton and Bounkanha alternated reading a book to the children titled "The Emperor's New Clothes." While using animal flashcards, the children were able to practice their English reading and pronunciation. The Soldiers and children also danced and sang along to the children's song, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."
"We had so much fun doing this, and the children are so cute," Benton said.
According to participants, the events enabled both the Americans and Japanese to get to know each other on a different level by sharing their cultures.
"I hope our unit can support these types of volunteer events more often," Bounkanha added.
Representatives from the local Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, also known as BOSS, program and members of Public Health Activity-Japan, Okinawa Branch, volunteer at this preschool one day per month.
According to participants, building stronger bonds within the local communities is important and solidifies the vital relationship with the host nation and the local Japanese citizens.