HUSAYNIYAH, Iraq- The Karbala Provincial Reconstruction Team, assisted by Troop A, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, celebrated the completion of a renovation project on the Husayniyah Youth Center.

The Youth Center is one of eleven 'Good Neighbor' projects the PRT has finished in recent months and provides Iraqi children a place to enjoy their favorite sporting activities. Many neighborhood children were present for the ceremony that was held on the basketball court.

"The condition of the center when we first came to look it over was pretty poor," said Lt. Col. Vince Rice, deputy team leader for the PRT. "We came at the request of the mayor to see what could be done to make it better for the kids."

After visiting the center, the PRT walked away with plans for the project that would result in an almost completely restored facility. The basketball court received a fresh coat of paint and netting for the hoops. The center's boxing ring was replaced and the ceiling above the ring was torn out and rebuilt.

Before the ceremony began, children were finishing a game of soccer on the field, which was also part of the renovation. The upgraded field featured new goals and the once bare concrete is now covered in a bright green artificial turf.

After the ribbon cutting the kids and members of Troop A moved inside the center where a large donation of shoes was handed out. Apache Troop supports the PRTAca,!a,,cs mission primarily by providing escort and security duties. They often directly participate in the functions of the PRT to show their appreciation of the Iraqi people.

Aca,!A"Apache Troop is directly involved with the local PRTAca,!a,,cs Good Neighbor Initiatives,Aca,!A? said Capt James Reilly, Troop A commander. Aca,!A"These initiatives are great ways to make a contribution to the local community and also have a significant impact on force protection for all USF in the operational environment.Aca,!A?

All the children present received shoes and shirts and moved back outside to resume their soccer game while others began a game of basketball.

"We are extremely pleased with all the work that has been done here," said Isam Al Masoudi, the youth center director. "The children are very happy and thankful for all you have done for them."

"The PRT has been proactive in trying to get this project done, and it's gone very smoothly," Rice said. "We do our best to provide these things for the children because, in the end, they are the future of Iraq."

Aca,!A"The 3rd ACR is committed to supporting the efforts of the PRT,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Bryan Radliff, deputy commander, 3rd ACR. Aca,!A"Projects such as these are a tremendous benefit for the children of Iraq and they are the key to its future.Aca,!A?