SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Aug. 7, 2019) -- Soldiers from the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic joined students for a morning of activities at Wahiawa Middle School, Wahiawa, Hawaii on Aug. 7, 2019.
The activity day was designed in conjunction with the University of Hawaii-Manoa (UH) "Gear Up' program to support the development and academic pursuits of the eighth-grade students at Wahiawa Middle School. The Desmond Doss Health Clinic supported the days' events and plans to support dozens more over the course of the year as part of the 'Partnership of Ohana'.
"Our military partners always bring a calming, positive influence to our events, said Andrew Matsuda, vice-principal, Wahiawa Middle School."
"Our students really enjoyed them helping run the activities and cheering us on. I hope more schools are able to build partnerships with the military. Those partnerships bring so much to the educational experience for our children," added Matsuda.
The School Partnership Program is a partnership between Hawaii public schools and the military. It was formally created by the Joint Venture Education Forum in 2001. The purpose of the partnership is to build a stable and consistent relationship between the school and military communities. It includes not only the Army Partnership in Education program, but also school partnership programs of the other military services.
1st Lt. Kayla Kight, medical company executive officer, Desmond Doss Health Clinic, coordinated the volunteer efforts for the clinic and future planning efforts with the Wahiawa Middle School administration.
"Today our volunteer efforts not only helped activities run more safe and smooth but most importantly we are spreading the message that we care about all of the students and their bright futures", said Kight.
"My favorite part of the day was seeing so many smiling faces and I was excited and happy to help them kick off the new school year!" "I enjoyed being a kid again", added Kight.
The activities at Wahiawa Middle School challenged the students both physically and mentally in addition to providing students an opportunity to hear about the 'Gear Up' program and the role it will play in their current and future academic journey.
"My goal is for Wahiawa to look at these students and get a feeling of pride and hope", said Kaylin Colón, project coordinator for Gear Up.
"The kids need to know they have endless opportunities and I want Wahiawa to be blown away by their students when they are a part of something great." "What is inside of these students is truly something special", added Colón.
The Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic will join academic and military leaders at the Joint Venture Education Forum on Aug. 22.