TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Members of the Combat Center’s community and Morongo Unified School District teamed up to start the Adopt-a-School program at the Combat Center Jan 21, 2011.
The Adopt-a-School program invites Marines from the Combat Center to volunteer their time to help mentor and tutor students from the local school district.
Service members from Marine Wing Support Squadron 374 and Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadrons 1 and 3, are spending their Tuesdays and Fridays volunteering at Twentynine Palms Junior High School and La Contenta Middle School.
This program is meant to be a starter or pilot program for a larger and sustainable program for the Combat Center, according to Carl J. Vanderzee, the Family Readiness Officer for MWSS-374. “Our objective here is to lay the groundwork for a larger, more sustainable program.”
Tom Baumgarten, the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services of the school district, and Dr. Dana Queener, the Combat Center’s school liaison officer, have worked hard to make the program a success.
“Dr. Queener was instrumental in talking about the concept and worked on the process of training and starting small at the two junior highs,” said Baumgarten.
The volunteers are expected to work with students in whatever way they can. Corporal Christina Denslow with MWSS-374 said that she expects to help tutor students and take part in physical training with them and keep students motivated.
The schools are also excited to see service members volunteering at the schools.
Navy Lt. Melanie Miller, the chaplain for MWSS-374, said, “It’s a bonus for me to work with my Marines and sailors, but also with the children.” Lt. Miller, who was in education for almost ten years, is excited to work with children and can’t wait to see the program flourish.