Representatives from Kwajalein visited Ebeye on Oct. 8, 2022, to deliver the first school supplies collected in a program to benefit Kwajalein Atoll schools.
"The drive was organized by Louis Berger Services and supported by Vectrus, participants from the LOGCAP contracting companies and off-atoll donors," LBS Project Manager Gregory Binford said. "This community outreach effort raised more than $15,000 toward the purchase of school supplies to support education in the Marshall Islands,” said
The Ebeye delivery included everything from notebooks to backpacks and sports equipment, writing utensils and teaching aids for each grade level. Special items included a set of small cots for student naptime and colorful posters to reinforce basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic.
For Binford, the program is about making a positive impact for atoll families and students.
“The scope of the project includes supplies for each of the schools,” he said, in a call for donors earlier this summer. “It will impact the several thousand children who are family members of the employees who serve in this great community.”
Donors can make additional program donations throughout the year using an online portal and maildrop solution to select and ship inventory items to the atoll.
To build the program’s inventory, LBS operations specialists Monica Calep, Marie Jacob and Emina Kemem visited participating schools to interview teachers and administrators about their classroom supply needs.
“I wish we’d had a program like this when I was a student,” Kemem said, of the project.
Both a former educator and student of Ebeye schools, Kemem remembers classmates struggling to study and attend classes sometimes without pencils and writing materials.
The students who receive the supplies won’t have to do that, she said.
“It is great to see that they are going to have the things they need in the classrooms. The parents will know the teachers already have some supplies for the students.”
As donations accumulated, Calep, Kemem and Jacob sorted and allocated their contents according to school. By early October, boxes consumed much of the free floorspace in the team’s large conference area.
It was a special moment on Ebeye, as school officials greeted personnel from U.S. Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll and LOGCAP V at the Ebeye pier. As the Ebeye School band played to welcome and thank their visitors, the team unloaded their numerous packages and boxes from the ferry.
George Navarro, LBS human resources supervisor, said he was grateful to help in the effort and encourages donations to continue.
“We started in the spring with $300, and tracked donations week by week,” said Navarro. “Then, it really took off. Things began pouring in.”
Following the Ebeye visit, supplies will be hand-delivered to Carlos and Enniburr schools. Supplies sourced in the drive will also benefit an outreach program for students and families on Namu Atoll.
“We are so grateful and want to thank everyone who has contributed,” Navarro said.
Binford agreed. Of the initial excursion and delivery on Ebeye, he said: “The reception we had is more than we could have hoped for. This is our way to say thank you, and to show our appreciation and respect for the Marshallese, and hope for a brighter educational future. We hope to continue this project far into the future.”