By Sgt. Adrienne Killingsworth, 18th Military Police Brigade, Public AffairsOctober 25, 2010
MANNHEIM, Germany - In a quiet corner of the Mannheim Library on Benjamin Franklin Village Oct. 19 a burst of laughter interrupts the building's silence. Giggles and squeals can hardly be contained.
It's a departure from the expected scene in a library, but there's a good reason for it.
Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, 529th Military Police Company, 95th Military Police Battalion, have begun an after-school reading program for the children of the Mannheim community.
On this particular crisp, fall afternoon, Pfc. Maria Clasby, one of the MP Soldier from 2nd Plt. who regularly volunteers her time for the program, incites those peals of laughter from her audience by singing a song from the book "On Top of the Potty" by Alan Katz. It is one of the many books she reads that day and contributes to many of the smiles she receives.
The amusing choice of books Soldiers like Clasby read from is just one of the reasons they said they volunteer for the chance to come and read every week.
"I just love working with kids so that's what it is for me," said Clasby, "I don't have any kids so it's a chance for me to interact with them."
Pfc. Kyle Kindred, another MP Soldier with 2nd Plt. who volunteered to read for the afternoon, said he enjoys the break from his routine in addition to getting to spend time with the children.
"I like to get out of the platoon every once in a while and take a break from doing the regular stuff every day," Kindred said, adding that, "It's pretty fun, even though I'm not very good at it."
The program came about as a result of the platoon trying to figure out a way to help their community while also being directly involved in it.
"We were looking for something to do for the community within the community," said 2nd Lt. Robert Soncini, the 2nd platoon leader for the 529th MP Co.
The program is something Soncini said he's seen done at other installations and, "It's a chance for us to have more of a face, to get Soldiers out of their cars and into the community and show that we are approachable."
The Soldiers have been participating in the after-school reading program for a few weeks and are eager to see more faces at their next scheduled event.
"They really enjoy doing it and spending time with the kids," Soncini said.
The after-school reading program is open to school-age children and is scheduled for every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at the Mannheim Library, Building 252, on Sullivan Barracks, in Benjamin Franklin Village.
The program will be on hold from Nov. 9-23 and Dec. 21-28 for the holiday breaks.
For more information, contact the Mannheim Library at DSN 380-1740 or from a civilian line at 0621-730-1740, or visit mwrgermany.com.