BAMBERG, Germany -- Soldiers from the 106th Finance Management Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, recently adopted the third-grade 'Young Giraffes' class at the Bamberg Elementary School here.

Between two and eight volunteers from 106th FM Co. visit the school every Wednesday and Friday to read, teach and even make cakes with the young students. The goal of this new partnership is for the Soldiers to connect with the community and mentor young minds.

Deborah Heit, the classroom teacher, explains that this particular third-grade class is nicknamed the 'Young Giraffes' because they are learning to stick out their necks for others. The class is just one of four third-grade classes at the local elementary school.

Maj. Gavin Luher, the 106th FM Co. commander, reached out to Heit and inquired about volunteering within the classroom.

The program started about a month ago and Heit stated that it has been a trial run for whether or not similar programs will start in the other classes.

"The kids absolutely love it, it's an opportunity for everyone to grow and learn," Heit said
Spc. Janada Morrison, a supply specialist for the 106th FM Co., has volunteered every opportunity she can.

"Every week (Wednesday and Friday) I try my best to send Soldiers of the 106th to Heit's class to interact with the kids," said Morrison. "They (students) understand that there are times we are not able to make it because of tasks or duties at work, but we still try our best to attend."

Joining Morrison was Pvt. Nabiha Isaq, a supply clerk in the 106th FM Co., who was on her second visit to the classroom.

On 'Pajama Day' during the schools 'Spirit Week,' all the kids dress in their favorite pajamas and learn about fire safety," said Heit. "Along with the theme, the students are also instructed to make fire truck cakes."

Given plenty of treats and food décor, the students were encouraged to be creative and cooperative with each other in the design and building of their fire trucks. At the end of the lesson, the guides, Morrison and Isaq, picked a cake to take back to their unit. They both chose the cakes they helped create, much to the students' delight.

Volunteers are welcomed and encouraged to talk with Heit for other opportunities to get Soldiers involved with students and the community.